A FAMILY’S battle with cancer has inspired a dad to take on a gruelling charity run.

Ryan Shaw, who grew up in Overton, is taking part in The Ocean Floor race – a non-stop 160 mile run in the Egyptian western desert on March 23.

The 41-year-old father-of-two is raising money for Cancer Research UK and St Michael’s Hospice, Basingstoke, in support of a Basingstoke mum who has been fighting cancer since 2007, after a tumour was discovered in her breast.

Julie Sutton and her husband Gordon were supported by St Michael’s Hospice, in Aldermaston Road, where she was given respite care after the cancer spread to her chest, brain and spine.

Ryan, who now lives in Cheam, said: “Gordon is a friend of mine, and he and his wife Julie are living proof that the human spirit, with a little bit of extra support and help, no matter what’s thrown at it, is capable of coping with immense stress and pressure.”

Julie said: “I have had to undergo several courses of chemotherapy and also radiotherapy to my breast, hip and, more frighteningly, last year to my brain.

“Pain is always a major issue and it’s finding a balance between effective pain relief and the side-effects that strong pain killers have.

“St Michael’s Hospice has provided much-needed respite and day care for me when needed. There is always someone at the end of the phone to talk to and provide advice. They also provide counselling and an equipment loan service to enable me to live at home with my family.”

Julie is now waiting for an appointment with her oncologist to sort out a treatment plan to target the more aggressive bone cancer, but the other three cancerous areas are stable.

It was Julie and her family’s strength that inspired Ryan to take part in a run to push his own body to the limit to raise funds for two good causes.

He said: “Without St Michael’s Hospice, people like Julie and her family would not benefit from the support and respite they can provide during the most traumatic period of their lives. It’s why I’m supporting Cancer Research too.

“Cancer does not discriminate. Research is a key component in helping to protect us, or recover from, this horrible disease, whatever form it may take.”

To donate to Ryan’s causes visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/oceanfloor and to read Ryan’s blog visit ryanshaw72.wordpress.com.