After being diagnosed with Stage 4 terminal prostate cancer in the autumn of 2014, father of two Martin Dallison was given no more than seven years to live. Another appointment in January 2015 however heartbreakingly revised that time down to only 18 months. Now in the summer of 2016, Londoner Martin made the brave and inspirational decision to take on a 100km trek, all in aid of charity.
With an initial target of £7000, Martin has so far raised over £41 000 for the RAF Benevolent Fund, Prostate Cancer UK and Streets of London. And after successfully completing the trek, from Courmayer in Italy to Chamonix, France, he looks set to see that total increase further.
"This was my first sponsored event in some 25 years," Martin; originally from Essex, before growing up in Hever and then Chiddingstone in Kent; explained. "There were eleven of us in total and one guide, with all of us carrying our own kit."
"The trek worked out as two-thirds of a marathon every day over mountains! I used to climb quite regularly in the past and after a weekend out in Chamonix I just decided to take up the challenge, and tick something off the bucket list!"
Although Martin has no connection to the RAF, he wanted to give something to those people that had served and their dependants. "I was lucky enough to have dinner with the Red Arrows, with only a handful of other guests, and just kept in touch with a couple of the team. After a few conversations, and knowing I wanted to support the armed forces, I thought that the RAF Benevolent Fund would be the right charity for me to donate to."
Although he only had 30 days to train, Martin wasn’t fazed by the task at hand. "The most I had trekked before was 26 miles in one day with the West Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge, which was very challenging. It made me realise that I couldn’t do things like I used to, because of the side effects of the drugs I was taking. But I wanted to do this."
"I had quite a lot of pain entering the trek but knew that I had to persevere, and had to do what I can, when I can. We all found day three to be a long, long day, as we had to go around an avalanche prone area, so that meant conquering a lot of snow, steepness and height."
"Getting to the end of the challenge was a far easier task than starting it; you know you'll get there all I had to do was just battle through the building pain. And now that I've done it, I'm so pleased that I have been able to help the three charities, and give something to those that need help and assistance."
Martin and the rest of his trek group all plan to meet up in London once they have all recovered: "It was really great group of people – all helping each other out during the trip and some great camaraderie before and afterwards. A really wonderful experience all round, and I'm just happy I've been able to help people out along the way."