They say that cancer affects one in three people, soon to be one in two, and I am sure most people reading this have come into contact with this awful disease in one way or another. In this instance it has affected someone at a Shropshire based leisure company and workers are banding together to help make life better for this individual and his family.
Salop Leisure are doing their part for one of their employees who has unfortunately been diagnosed with terminal cancer to help complete his bucket list of dream events. Something I feel is an amazing thing to do for someone who has just been dealt a heavy blow, so hats off to Salop Leisure for doing this.
Salop are hoping to raise £5,000 to help their site maintenance engineer Darren Lloyd, 38, bucket list become reality. Darren’s to do list contains a holiday abroad with his family, a trip to a Centre Parcs in the UK, tickets to a top class boxing event and shark fishing!
So where do Salop start to help raise these life changing funds? How about a full on fund raising 24 hour duathlon? Salop’s marketing manager Ed Glover and Love2Stay joint general manager Chris Skitt will take on a 24-hour challenge- cycling and running – at Salop Leisure’s Emstrey headquarters to raise money for the appeal. Work colleagues have also pledged to support the challenge throughout the day.
Darren was diagnosed with bowel cancer this time last year and underwent surgery on Christmas Eve at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham. Because the cancer has spread, he is now undergoing a second cycle of 12 weeks of chemotherapy treatment at the Lingen Davies Cancer Centre at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.
Not letting his illness get the better of him Darren has remained positive throughout and has praised the treatment and care he has received from all the medical staff at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham and The Christie in Manchester and the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.
To help raise awareness Darren is sharing his story to shed light on the importance of seeking medical advice and care as soon as possible once any possible symptoms rear their ugly head, which include a change in toilet habits.
He believes his original tumour may have been growing in his bowel for four years before he sought medical advice. Like many men do, he put off going to see his GP and by the time he did seek medical advice, the cancer had spread.
“If I can stop this happening to just one person by encouraging them to get early diagnosis of cancer, then it will have been worth sharing my story,” said Darren, who lives in Monkmoor, Shrewsbury.
“I had been having stomach cramps 20 minutes after eating for a long time before I was persuaded to go to the doctor. I wish I had gone sooner. I am trying to keep a positive mind for chemotherapy even though it makes me very tired. I fear that if I get down, it is going to get me.”
Darren has worked for Salop for over eight years and has been responsible for the sites landscaping as well as the design for the Love2Stay resort. On top of his already busy schedule Darren helps with maintenance at other holiday home and touring parks across Mid Wales.
“The support I am getting from Salop Leisure, my work colleagues, family and a wide circle of friends is amazing,” he added. “Part of coming to terms with my terminal illness is my wish to help other people and give something back.”
His kindness and bravery persuade Ed and Chris to take on the duathlon. They said: “Since being diagnosed with cancer in 2018, Darren has fought the disease with immense strength and belief, at the same time being there for his family and friends.
“We want to raise as much money as possible for Darren and his family to be able to enjoy some precious time together to create some special memories. They have a wish list and they would like to make as many of these possible as they can.
“Please donate any amount you can to help us make these dreams come true for someone who truly deserves it.”
A Just Giving page has been created for anyone wishing to support the fundraising for Darren: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/lloydy. More than £1,300 was donated within 24 hours.
Not stopping there, Salop Leisure are entering a team into the Shrewsbury Dragon Boat Race on July 7 called Lloydy’s Love Boat. Depending on what the medical professionals say, Darren may be the boat’s helmsman dressed as a hospital patient while the rest of the crew dress up as doctors and nurses. The proceeds raised will be split between the Severn Hospice and he Lingen Davies Cancer Centre.
A full month’s worth of fundraising events have been planned by the company to help Darren complete a few dreams with his family. Salop will be holding some prize draws which includes a two-night stay in a glamping lodge at the Love2Stay resort and a luxury hamper, a quiz and a cake sale.
Mark Bebb, Salop Leisure’s managing director, said: “We are determined to try and make the time that Darren has left the best it can be for him and his family. He’s a very popular team member who has been an integral part of building and developing the Love2Stay resort and many of our parks in Mid Wales.
“It’s a reflection of the man that even now he is thinking of others by agreeing to share his story about fighting cancer.”