Dame Judi Dench has given a lucky charm to a grandfather who has survived three types of cancer as he cycles from Twickenham to Tokyo.
Sports-mad Patrick McIntosh will leave Twickenham Stadium on Saturday and hopes to arrive in Tokyo on September 20 – just in time for the Rugby World Cup match between Russia and Japan.
The four-and-a-half-month journey will see the 62-year-old clock up 7,192 miles as he cycles across Europe and Russia in aid of the World Cancer Research Fund and St Catherine’s Hospice in West Sussex.
It comes after Mr McIntosh, a chartered financial adviser from Smallfield in Surrey, underwent several rounds of treatment for bowel, prostate and skin cancer.
In 2012, surgeons operated and removed 17 inches of bowel, but Mr McIntosh then found out he had skin and prostate cancer – both of which also required surgery.
Dame Judi, who lives in the same village as Mr McIntosh, has shown her support by giving him a four-leaf clover silver charm to attach to his bike.
She said: “Patrick’s taking on an extraordinary journey.
“He’s doing this ‘Life Cycle’ in order to make us all aware of how important it is to eat properly, to exercise properly, to think positively and to be able to recognise cancer early so that something can be done about it.
“Please be aware of what’s happening, watch Patrick’s progress and give what you can.
“Cancer is something that concerns all of us – absolutely all of us. If not ourselves, then certainly somebody we know.”
Mr McIntosh said: “Some people say I’m crazy to want to cycle around the world having survived three cancers, but I want to show what’s possible even after such a horrible triple diagnosis and major surgery.
“Cancer is no longer a death sentence for everyone, and I simply want to highlight the importance of eating well, doing exercise, staying positive and getting any symptoms checked.”
Mr McIntosh intends to continue his worldwide journey next year by cycling across North America and Iceland back to the UK.
Marilyn Gentry, founder of the World Cancer Research Fund, said: “The challenge Patrick is about to take on is an inspiration to us all here at World Cancer Research Fund.
“We are honoured that he has chosen to champion us and our vital cancer prevention and survival work.
“Dame Judi Dench’s support is also invaluable and greatly appreciated.
“We hope you will feel inspired by Patrick too, whether that is to exercise more, to have a healthy lifestyle or sponsor Patrick so that we can continue working towards a day when no-one develops a preventable cancer.”
Patricia Brayden, medical director at St Catherine’s Hospice, said: “It’s really inspiring to see Patrick living his life so fully after his own cancer diagnoses, as helping people to live their lives as fully as they can, for as long as they can, is something we really believe in at St Catherine’s.
“As a local charity we rely on the generosity of people in our community, like Patrick, raising money.
“His efforts cycling will make a huge difference to other people in his community by raising money towards the building of our new larger hospice.
“This will allow us to be there to provide expert care to more terminally ill people and their families in the future. We’re looking forward to tracking Patrick’s progress.”
Mr McIntosh is married to wife Sue, 78. They have two grandchildren, Gemma, 27, and Jack, 22.
His fundraising page is https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/PatrickMcIntoshLifeCycle