A GROUP of local people who have been affected in one way or another by cancer will take part in the Ride to Conquer Cancer next month.
The team of 10, nine of whom are riding, will take on the 200km trek to raise funds for the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research.
Team members are Nici Carr, Clayton La Reservee, Wesley and Daphne McCleland, Bill Lee, Gary Pickering, Georgina Webb, Gena Hart, Sarah Adams and Barry Steel.
One member, Baldivis man Wesley McClelland, discovered he had cancer last year.
His wife Daphne spoke to the Courier following his diagnosis of non-Hodgkin’s large b cell lymphoma.
“Nothing could have prepared us for the devastating news that Wes had cancer,” Mrs McClelland said.
“Fear, shock and disbelief turned into a self-analysis of how and why.”
Mrs McClelland’s message to others was to make sure you visited your GP if you felt unwell, had a lump or any other possible signs of cancer.
“Being a man, Wes typically ignored his symptoms of pain, bloated stomach and tiredness, putting it down to working too hard or eating too much,” she said.
It was an agonising two months of blood tests, painful liver biopsies and a bone marrow biopsy from the date of diagnosis until the McClellands found out Wes had lymphoma – an aggressive blood cancer.
“The fear of the unknown, fear of dying and fear of chemotherapy were very much in the foreground but Wes had a positive spirit to not let it beat him,” she said.
Chemotherapy treatment meant a six-day stay in Fremantle Hospital on a drip, as the treatment was so toxic Wes could not leave.
“To watch a loved one suffer the pain of chemo, lose so much weight you hardly recognise them and know all you can do is offer love and support during this very difficult time is exhausting and frustrating,” she said.
“Our lives have changed forever, we will always live in cancer’s shadow but we will not let it break our spirit.
“If we can save even one life by getting our message out there, then we have done our job.”
Mr McClelland is now in remission.
A ball at Rushton Park will be held on October 3 at 6.30pm.
The cost is $100 per person.
There will be a live band Carbon Taxi, and Metro Modelling will present a fashion show and there will be three gaming tables.
Call 0468 583 900 or 9584 2562.