Marshall Skills Academy Learning Facilitator, Lewis Van Slyke, has been passionate about raising money and building awareness for Cancer Research and Macmillan Cancer Support since his beautiful wife and soulmate, Jane, was diagnosed and unfortunately passed away from the disease in January 2018.
Living through that experience, and seeing the amazing work these charities do to support those going through a cancer journey from patient to loved ones, has motivated Lewis to continue doing his part to give back.
Raising awareness through these events is equally as important as raising money for the charities. Lewis said, “Everyone sees the adverts pop up on television, but the first thing we do is skip it or get up and make a cup of tea. These charities do a good job spreading their message but, sadly, people don’t pay attention until they need them. Currently, Cancer Research says that one in two people will receive a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime. So, it is highly likely that most people will be touched by cancer directly or indirectly so the work these charities do is invaluable to all of us.”
Lewis has recently taken part in two events to raise money and awareness for these amazing charities. They were:
The Mighty Hike for Macmillan Cancer Support
On Saturday 14 May 2022, Lewis set off on a 14.6-mile hike starting at West Runton in Cromer and ending near Holkham Hall in Wells-next-the-Sea. The walk took just under five and a half hours to complete. Despite some challenging walking conditions and a massive blister on his foot, Lewis finished in high spirits, knowing that he raised a good amount for Macmillan Cancer Support.
He wanted to publicly thank an old school friend, Michael Hensly, and his wife Kim from America who donated a large chunk of money to ensure that Lewis reached his fundraising goal for a charity that was an invaluable resource from the beginning of Jane’s diagnosis and remained an active support for Lewis after Jane passed away.
Lewis said, “When the worst day of your life has happened, you still have to carry on functioning. You must report the death, you must go to the bank because if you have joint accounts everything gets frozen, you must arrange a funeral, and the list goes on. Doing that while you are consumed by grief is very difficult, so the support I received from Macmillan went a long way to help get me through that time.”
Race for Life for Cancer Research
Lewis is a member of a support group made up of cancer survivors, cancer patients, and loved ones. He joined the group after Jane passed and the community has been a great comfort to him over the last few years. So, when he heard that they were putting a team forward for Race for Life for Cancer Research on 2 July 2022, Lewis was keen to take part.
He had some concerns about fundraising for another charity so close to his heart since he had recently approached his friends, colleagues, and associates asking for donations for the Mighty Hike. Dan Edwards, General Manager for Marshall Skills Academy, stepped in and offered a corporate sponsorship from Marshall. Lewis was blown away with the generosity.
In total, that Race for Life event raised over £22,000 and the donations are still pouring in, so it will contribute greatly towards the fight against cancer.
To conclude, Lewis said, “I can’t stress this enough – you need to check your bits and if you think something is wrong, go to the doctor. These charities do a vital job, and we can all do more to support them because you cannot appreciate how much they do until you need them.”