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Two golfers prepare for 17-hour challenge – in honour of colleague they have never met

Scott Lee and Stephen Thomson are raising money for pancreatic cancer research. Supplied by Scott Lee.
Scott Lee and Stephen Thomson are raising money for pancreatic cancer research. Supplied by Scott Lee.

Two kind-hearted golfers are preparing to take on five rounds in support of a colleague they have only ever met online.

Stephen Thomson and Scott Lee will play 17 hours of golf on June 30 to raise money for Pancreatic Cancer UK after their colleague Charles Czajkowski was diagnosed with the disease.

The trio work at geo-data company Fugro, but while Mr Thomson and Mr Lee work in Aberdeen office, Mr Czajkowski is based in Oxford.

They have only ever seen each other through online video chat.

But proving distance is no barrier, the two north-east men decided they wanted to support Mr Czajkowski after doctors broke the news his cancer was back.

Mr Czajkowski on holiday last week in the Shropshire Hills with his dog Tilly the wirehaired viszla. Supplied by Charles Czajkowski.

He had been in remission for two years, but recently found out he has a lesion on peritoneum, the tissue that lines the abdominal wall and covers most of the organs in that area.

The 63-year-old, from Surrey, said: “There is no cure. It is a one-way journey.

“It’s a battle. But the way I look at it – you have to fight it. If you don’t fight it, you give up. And if you give up you die.”

Fugro has given their support behind Mr Czajkowski by making Pancreatic Cancer UK their official charity, which is how his Aberdeen colleagues found out about his battle.

‘How are you going to manage five rounds?’

Mr Lee, 45, from Portlethen, said: “Stephen and I sat across from each other and thought what could we do to help.

“Prostate Cancer are doing a campaign right now where it’s four rounds of golf, we thought ‘we don’t want to be a run of the mill – we’ll do one more’.

“I hadn’t told my wife about it initially.

“She was shocked when she found out.

“She said to me ‘you can hardly walk after two rounds of golf! You have to soak in the bath for hours! How are you going to manage five rounds?’”

Stephen Thomson and Scott Lee usually enjoy golf in a more relaxed atmosphere. Supplied by Scott Lee.

The challenge will take place at Newmachar Golf Club on June 30, teeing off at 5am, 8.15am, 11.30am, 3.15pm and 7pm.

The men estimate they could potentially be walking up to 100,000 steps, adding up to a total distance of 40 miles.

Mr Thomson, 41, from Ferryhill, said: “I played one round the other day and I was sore.

“We are expecting to be playing from 5am until 10pm. And maybe get a half an hour break in 17 hours.”

“But it’s all for a good cause.”

Hawkshill Golf Course is one of the courses the guys will be playing. Supplied by Newmachar Golf Club.

Mr Czajkowski was initially shocked when he heard the Aberdeen duo were preparing to raise the money.

He said: “I was really touched when they came up with the idea. They have done it all off their own back.

“But the total lack of funding for research needs to be changed.”

Only 3% of the UK cancer research is spent on pancreatic cancer

The survival rates for pancreatic cancer means that on average only 7% of people will survive after five years. It is one of the deadliest common cancers in the UK.

Despite this, according to Pancreatic Cancer UK only 3% of the UK cancer research budget goes into research.

This has led to a survival rate amongst patients which has barely improved in the last 50 years – despite other cancers making huge progress.

Mr Czajkowski living life to the full after jumping off a mountain in Cape Town, South Africa. Supplied by Charles Czajkowski.

Mr Czajkowski has accepted his diagnosis and is now focusing on doing the things he loves. But he also wants to raise awareness of the condition, and get more money dedicated to early diagnosis.

He believes it is often too late before the main symptoms are noticed.

“That is why I want the money to go towards research towards early diagnostics,” he added.

“It’s going to be too late for me but I really want Pancreatic Cancer UK to get as much research money as possible.”

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