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Family joins Race of Life in memory of much-missed dad

By Heather Large | Walsall | News | Published:

Two youngsters who lost their dad to cancer are pledging to take part in Race for Life alongside their mum to help raise vital funds.

Lisa Mason, her nine-year-old daughter Darcie and her three-year-old son Teddie have already raised £10,000 for Cancer Research UK in memory of husband and dad, Ian Mason, who died last year, aged 46, from oesophageal cancer.

And on Sunday May 12 they will take to the stage as guests of honour at Race for Life in Walsall Arboretum before joining the throng to complete the 5k course.

Lisa said: “I’m so proud to join Race for Life again this year alongside my family. It is a terrible thing to lose your husband and watch your children cope without their father, but we hope something positive can come out of Ian’s death.

“Ian was only 46 when he died. If he had been diagnosed sooner perhaps he could have beaten his cancer, but unfortunately it was too late for him. I hope our story will raise awareness of this type of cancer and the money we raise will help prevent another family enduring a similar tragedy.”

Ian first became ill in October 2017, but his symptoms were thought to be caused by vertigo or acid reflux. His health worsened over the following months and Ian was eventually diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in January 2018.

Initially Ian was told the cancer was incurable and was offered palliative treatment. However, a second opinion revealed that the cancer may be cured, but the treatment given proved to be unsuccessful and Ian sadly passed away in July last year.

Lisa raised more than £3,000 from the Walsall Race for Life event held in May last year and a further £700 was donated at Ian's funeral for Cancer Research UK. Lisa was inspired to raise yet more money so that other families did not have to suffer the loss of a loved one.

She organised a Race for Life for the children at a local primary school where Darcie and Teddie are pupils, raising more than £5,000. And on 10 May, two days before Walsall's Race for Life, the family are staging yet another fundraiser, ‘Ian Mason’s Variety Night’ at Pelsall Community Centre.

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“We’re having a whole range of acts including a hypnotist, mind reader, singers, an auction and a raffle,” said Lisa. “We want it to be a really fun night and we’re determined to raise as much money as possible for life-saving research.

“Being there at Race for Life in Walsall is really important to me as I don’t want anyone else to suffer the same fate Ian did".

Lisa added: “Our experience means I understand all too clearly why Cancer Research UK’s work is so important. We need to make sure cancer symptoms are known and talked about, and that treatments are being constantly improved through research."

Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, in partnership with Tesco, is an inspiring series of 5k, 10k, Pretty Muddy and Pretty Muddy Kids events which raise millions of pounds every year to help beat cancer by funding crucial research.

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This year, for the first time, the charity is inviting everyone – women, men and children – to join the Race for Life.

Jane Redman, Cancer Research UK’s spokesperson in the Midlands, said: “Symptoms of oesophageal cancer can include things like difficulty swallowing or persistent indigestion, but these can be caused by many other less serious conditions too. That’s why the most important thing to remember is whatever your symptom, if it’s not normal for you, go and get it checked out.

“We are very grateful to Lisa, Darcie and Teddie for their support. By following their lead and joining the Race for Life in Walsall people can make a real difference in the fight against cancer.

“Our Race for Life events are fun, colourful, emotional and uplifting. You don’t need to be sporty to take part. You don’t have to train, and you certainly don’t need to compete against anyone else.”

To enter Race for Life visit raceforelife.org or call 0300 123 0770

Heather Large

By Heather Large
Special projects reporter - @HeatherL_star

Senior reporter and part of the Express & Star special projects team specialising in education and human interest features.

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