Updated: Tuesday, 7th July 2020 @ 11:04pm

Going the extra mile: Cancer patient, 71, defies age to battle hills and roads to repay Christie's 'outstanding care'

Going the extra mile: Cancer patient, 71, defies age to battle hills and roads to repay Christie's 'outstanding care'

| By Stefan Mackley

A 71-year-old Manchester cancer patient is gearing up to say thank you to The Christie – by cycling 100 miles to raise funds.

Chris Wakefield will be taking on the Manchester 100 Bike Ride at the end of August after a successful stem cell transplant at The Christie’s specialist cancer centre in 2012.

The grandfather of four was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in April 2012 after suffering severe back pain on holiday in Italy.

But after a successful autologous stem cell transplant the keen cyclist is taking on the challenge in high-spirits to give something back for the amazing care he received.

“The team on the haematology and transplant unit at The Christie were absolutely brilliant,” he said.

“All the nurses were super and very understanding.

“After 17 days I was deemed well enough to go home as my blood count was going in the right direction."

The retired chemical engineer from Lymm underwent an autologous stem cell transplant which uses the patient’s own stem cells in the transfusion as opposed to having to find a donor match.

Patients are given a higher dose of chemotherapy which also kills the stem cells.

Following the chemotherapy, the harvested stem cells are put back, which can then make normal blood cells again.

However, despite making progress Chris was readmitted to The Christie on Christmas Day morning after suffering with an infection.

WHEELY READY! The 71-year-old was diagnosed in 2012

But following treatment he was well enough to go home the same day and enjoy Christmas dinner with his family.

“Christmas morning in The Christie will stay with me forever – I even got a present,” he joked.

“The care given when you’re at your lowest is outstanding, nothing is too much trouble and every single person is like that.

“Doctors and nurses go the extra mile and all the arrangements and planning were second to none.”

Fearing he would not be able to get back to an active life again Chris, who cycled from John O’Groats to Lands End in just nine days in 2010, was encouraged by staff at The Christie.

“The staff were great at encouraging me and giving me confidence to become active again,” he added.

“When I was recovering at home, the availability of a specialist nurse at the end of a phone was invaluable for answering all the questions I hadn’t thought of at the time.

“Almost exactly a year after beginning treatment, I began cycling again in September 2013.

“The bike ride will be a challenge but not insurmountable I hope."

SURVIVOR: Chris is a keen cyclist and rode from John O’Groats to Lands End in 2010

Chris, who still has blood checks every month, has been busy training and completed 35 miles in two and a half hours recently, so is confident of going the distance on the day.

Chris’ consultant at The Christie, Dr Jim Cavet, said; “I’m delighted to see Chris back cycling and feeling fit and well enough to take on an event of this magnitude.

“Having taken part in the Manchester 100 bike ride myself for the past three years, I know it’s no small undertaking.

“I am very pleased he is cycling so far after his chemotherapy and auto transplant and I look forward to seeing Chris on the roads of Cheshire.”

The stunning 100 mile bike ride starts and finishes at Wythenshawe Park on Sunday August 31, leaving Manchester to take in the stunning Cheshire Countryside of Northwich, Middlewich and Delamere Forest.

To donate to Chris’ fund, click here.