A 62-year-old grandfather suffering form an incurable cancer will take part in the Etape Loch Ness challenge to raise money for Maggie’s Centre.
Colin Murray, from Buckie in Moray, is undertaking the marathon cycle to pay tribute to those who have supported him his his battle against the disease.
Colin is determined to complete the course despite still being treated for mantle cell lymphoma - cancer which attacks the body’s white cells, and means that he will only ever be in remission, never cured.
He still has days where cancer leaves him feeling tired and washed out.
But he refuses to be beaten and says his solution is to have a yawn, sit down for half an hour and then get right back up again.
Etape Loch Ness takes place on traffic-free roads around the world-famous loch on 23 April.
Staff and volunteers at Maggie’s Centre – a specialist cancer facility - in Aberdeen supported him and his family and he wanted to do something to repay that kindness.
Colin said: “I would always go into Maggie’s after my treatment and speak to them and I found that it helped me so much.
“Just having someone there to listen made such a huge difference to me, and I cannot thank them enough for all they have done.”
He was diagnosed with mantle cell lymphoma in 2008 and endured seven months of chemotherapy before being told by doctors he was in remission.
However, the cancer showed signs of returning six years later and Colin agreed to take part in a trial of a new drug - ibrutinib.
The drug, which is still undergoing clinical trials, kills lymphoma cells and prevents them from dividing. This stops the spread of lymphoma cells through the body.
Colin added: “Although I will never be cured, everything is going in the right direction with this drug.
“I’m feeling well and although I still get a bit tired from time to time, it’s nothing to complain about.
“I think when some people get ill, they take to sitting indoors and welding themselves to an arm chair. But you’ve just got to keep going – set a goal, no matter how small.
“I took up cycling last June because I wanted to do something to thank the people who had helped me and my family. I never thought that I would be able to cycle any kind of distance, but I’m out doing 30 to 40 miles a couple of times a week.
“I’m really looking forward to Etape Loch Ness. A long time ago, I did some 10Ks and half marathons, and I always remember the feeling of achievement of crossing the line. That’s what I am looking forward to the most – looking around and seeing lots of smiles on faces.
“And, of course, the fact that I am going to complete this with my illness makes it even more of an achievement. I’m aiming to get around the course in under four-and-a-half hours, but we’ll just see how it goes.
“I had planned to ride it with my son, but he’s been working abroad for long periods of time and hasn’t been able to get any training done. So, it looks like it will be left to the old man to do it on his own.”
Colin hopes the public will go online to donate: Colin’s fundraising page
The centre in Aberdeen – one of many across the UK – gives patients and their families access to advice, practical information and emotional support, as well as a listening ear.
The official charity partner of Etape Loch Ness is Macmillan Cancer Support, but dozens of charities will benefit from the efforts of participants.