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Farmer set to ride 5,000 miles to raise awareness of kidney cancer

Jon is set to embark on a 5,000-mile ride with his Yamaha to help James Whale Fund for Kidney Cancer
Jon is set to embark on a 5,000-mile ride with his Yamaha to help James Whale Fund for Kidney Cancer
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by Alice Scarsi

Farmer and cancer sufferer, Jon Birchall, has learnt at a high cost the importance of early diagnosis

A farmer is set to start a 5,000-mile epic motorbike ride around the British coast to spread awareness regarding the importance of early diagnosis of kidney cancer.

Jon Birchall, 54, is victim of both bad luck and misdiagnosis. In 2010, when he started feeling weary and suffering night sweats, he first dismissed the problem as tiredness due to both managing land in excess of 1,000 acres and studying for a masters degree in rural estates and land management and, when he decided to undertake a full health check with a private health company, he was subsequently reassured when he was diagnosed with 'episodic fatigue'.

A few years later, in January 2013, with no signs of the fatigue shifting, Jon decided to consult his GP, who suspected a gall bladder problem and decided to delve deeper into the problem. An ultra scan and then a full CT scan in March 2013 revealed that Jon was suffering from kidney cancer.

"Part of me was relieved that at last I knew what was wrong with me, but it was also devastating," Jon told the Manchester Evening News.

Jon underwent surgery to remove his kidney and then, but sadly it was discovered that the tumour had spread into the lungs. A course of Interleukin 2 infusion treatment followed at Manchester's Christie Hospital, the only hospital in the UK to offer the cancer treatment which interferes with the way in which cancer cells grow and multiply. But, sadly despite being one of the most ground-breaking courses of treatment in the cure against cancer, it didn't work for Jon, who has since been given 30 to 40 months to live.

Nevertheless, Jon has decided against living his last months in sorrow and instead to start actively doing something to prevent other people to go through the same experience.

Jon will, therefore, embark on a 5,000-mile ride with his Yamaha in aid of the UK's leading specialist kidney cancer charity James Whale Fund for Kidney Cancer to promote the importance of an early diagnosis.

"I made my mind up to do everything I could to prevent other people suffering the same fate. I want to emphasise to everyone, including the medical profession, the vital importance of early diagnosis of kidney cancer," Jon said.

"Early diagnosis is quite simply the difference between life and death," he continued.

As the eighth most common cancer in the UK, over 10,000 people a year are diagnosed with kidney cancer and 4,000 die from the disease every year. Symptoms usually begin with passing of blood in the urine and other symptoms include - but are not limited to - pain or discomfort in the side or back of the abdomen, high temperatures, fevers and sweats, swelling in the areas over a kidney and tiredness.

To follow Jon's ride, click here. And to donate to a brilliant cause, text JBKC55 £3, £5 or £10 to 70070 now.

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