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London Marathon Showcase: Ian Blake

15th January 2018

On Sunday 22nd April Ian Blake, an Actuary living in Wimbledon, will run the 2018 Virgin London Marathon for the first time in aid of St George’s Hospital Charity. He decided to support Team Georges after receiving treatment for a malignant melanoma; the most aggressive form of skin cancer.

The money he raises will go towards The Melanoma Foundation based at the hospital. The Foundation conducts research into the causes, prevention and management of melanoma, and enables staff to deliver the best possible treatment for patients to ensure they have the best outcomes.

Ian’s experience with cancer began in 2011 when he found what he believed to be a mole on his right leg. He didn’t think much of it at the time until someone pointed out how much it had grown. So he went to see his GP who sent him to hospital to get it removed and tested in order to see if it was cancerous. A few days later he got a call asking him to come back to the hospital the following morning. Ian said: “It was at that point I first realised it might not be a benign mole.” He was just 25 years old.

At his second appointment he met with a doctor who explained that it was a malignant melanoma and due to its size the safest thing to do would be to have surgery to ensure it was completely removed. The operation would take place at St George’s as the hospital in a regional specialist in oncology.

Medical staff removed a considerable amount of the tissue from around the melanoma as well as the lymph nodes in his groin so they could ascertain whether the cancer had spread to other parts of the body, which is common for Ian’s type of cancer. Then Ian waited for the results.

He said: “After what seemed like an eternity of time (which I found it very hard mentally) I got the good news that the cancer had not spread further. Since then I have had check-ups with my local consultant and thankfully I was recently given the 5 year all clear.”

In his fundraising page he also mentions some of the common signs of melanoma (a mole that is two toned, large, growing, or irregularly shaped) and he was keen to tell others not to feel embarrassed about getting checked out by your GP if you notice something unusual.

Ian has not always been a runner. As a result of the amount of tissue removed he was on crutches for a while and it took him a long time to build up the strength in his right leg again. Thankfully his leg is now back to normal, apart from a rather large scar. He said: “I started running to prove to myself that my leg was okay and to generally try and lead a healthy life - which I definitely wasn’t doing before the op!”

“And of course I wanted to give back to St George’s. As well as the operation the staff offered such wonderful support in the weeks afterwards. As I had lymph nodes removed I had a repeated build-up of fluid which needed to be drained on a regular basis, meaning regular trips to the hospital. The staff were absolutely brilliant every time. I want to thank them for all the help and support they provided me along my journey.”

Lizzie Wilson, Community and Events Fundraiser, said: “We’re so grateful to Ian for running a marathon in aid of St George’s Hospital Charity. His fundraising will make a huge difference for all those being treated for skin cancer at St George’s, both in the immediate and long term future. We can’t thank him enough for his support.”

If you would like to sponsor Ian’s London marathon you can do so by visiting her Virgin Money Giving page here. You can also donate directly to The Melanoma Foundation through our website.

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