Ashington man Tony Bennett to walk to Hampshire in memory of wife who died from pancreatic cancer
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That was until Anne was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in July 2021. She died in September 2022.
Starting on the anniversary of her death, Tony will walk with her ashes from Ashington to his former hometown Gosport, Hampshire to raise awareness for the disease. And he is planning to do it in 18 days.
The 62-year-old said: “I have got my personal reasons for doing it, and that is to take Anne home.
“But the biggest reason is to raise awareness and raise some money for pancreatic cancer.”
Anne always described runners as “absolute nutters,” but Tony thinks she would have backed him to complete his 450-mile route.
“When I did my first run she thought I was mad and no sooner had I come out of the shower, she had booked me for the next run,” he said.
“I know what she would be saying is ‘you are mad,’ but she would have backed me to do it. There is no doubt about that.”
Tony and Anne had been enjoying their retirement together until Anne’s health took a turn.
Tony said: “To be in Anne’s circle of friends, you had to prove yourself, but when we moved up to Northumberland, the door was open and she became friends with people so much quicker.
“I am glad that people up north got to see Anne for what she was really capable of.”
Pancreatic cancer is particularly tough for doctors to spot, meaning it is often not discovered until it is too late.
Patients typically do not survive long after the cancer is found. According to Cancer Research UK, only around 25% of people survive longer than a year, only around 5% longer than five.
Tony described the figures as “nasty” and called for more government support to help GPs find it earlier.
He said: “Up until months after she passed away I cried every day because I watched her fade away in front of me.
“I watched her go through all the pains of running up and down the stairs and not feeling well, not wanting to go out, not wanting to eat.
“I wanted an extra 10 years with my wife, at least, and I never got that opportunity.”
Tony did the Great North Run for Pancreatic Cancer UK last year, and Anne was “adamant” she would see him finish.
A special ramp was made to get Anne from her bedroom to a taxi in a wheelchair.
Tony added: “She had to wait for about an hour for me to finish because I was so slow, but she was there. That is how stoic she was.
“It took us two and a half hours to get home, sat in the traffic. So she was sore.
“We knew she was in pain and just nine days later she left. That was hard to take.”
Tony first got into running following the death of his 36-year-old daughter Nikki in 2010, also to cancer.
“It has been tough on the whole family, but what can you do about it?
“When they are not here, they are not here. You just have to miss them every day.”
To donate and find updates visit mywalkforanne.wordpress.com