In 2002, Michael McCord died from oesophageal cancer.

His death, like so many, was preventable.

Had he known at the time about the dangers of long term and persistent heartburn, he could have sought medical help and the outcome might have been completely different.

It was his tragic death that brought about the McCord Fund, which has grown today into the national charity, Heartburn Cancer UK (HCUK).

Chrissy Gorham lost her husband, John, to oesophageal cancer after a battle of two-and-a-half years.

Chrissy said: "My husband John had just taken early retirement at 60. He was fit and healthy and an ultra-marathon runner but had intermittent heartburn and difficulty swallowing.

"Following numerous visits to his GP where he was given antacids he was sent for an endoscope. He was diagnosed immediately with cancer of the oesophagus.

"Because it was left too long before the investigations his cancer had already spread to the lymph nodes. Despite extensive surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy the cancer had spread too far and my John died in May 2018 of oesophageal cancer."

In 2016 when he was diagnosed, John and Chrissy decided that she would try and run 100 marathons to raise awareness of this cancer and specifically that early diagnosis can save lives.

Sadly, far too many people are diagnosed late. The initial symptom is persistent heartburn every day for three weeks or more. Don’t hesitate to see your GP and ask for an endoscopy.

Chrissy has now run 88 marathons and hopes to complete her 90th over the Christmas holidays with 100 targeted for spring 2019.

John’s story can be found at

If you wish to donate to Chrissy go to or text HCUK001 £1 to 70700 to donate now.