A Blackpool dad today told of his remarkable recovery from stomach cancer after amazingly beating the odds to complete a gruelling Ironman triathlon.
Kevin Redford shed tears of joy after crossing the finishing line, just 12 months after lying in bed, crippled with stomach cancer and fearing the worst.
The former soldier now hopes his experience will inspire other cancer patients in their battles with the disease.
The 48-year-old father-of-two swam 1.2 miles in a lake, cycled 56 miles and ran 13.1 miles in six hours 50 minutes.
He performed the feat just nine months after being given the all-clear. Kevin, of Poulton Road, Blackpool, said: “I got my diagnosis just after Christmas 2013 and it was devastating.
“My first round of treatment was chemotherapy at Blackpool Victoria Hospital but after that the tumour had not shrunk. The next stage was surgery at Royal Preston Hospital in May last year when they removed the tumour, and after that I was told that’s all that could be done for me.
“But fortunately I got a second opinion at Christie’s Hospital in Manchester and they agreed to put me on a treatment of chemotherapy and radiotherapy combined which was very harsh on my body.
“I have always been a fighter but this just stopped me in my tracks. It’s not just about yourself, you worry about how it will affect your family as well.”
Kevin, who also has a nine-month-old grandson Junior James and now works as an IT director, decided to compete in the Staffordshire Ironman event after finally being given the all clear last September.
But the demanding training schedule meant 5am starts for cycle rides, swimming in rivers and running half marathons.
Despite what he had been through, Kevin was determined to succeed. He said: “I served in the army for 22 years and was a physical training instructor so I think the fact I was very fit in the first place helped me.
“But I couldn’t have done it without the support of my family and friends.
“I got started on the Ironman training as quickly as I could. I did not need much motivation, I was alive and that was enough. But physically it was very difficult because my body had been through so much.
“I was crying when I ran across the finishing line because it had been my goal since being diagnosed with cancer. I do hope my story will serve as real hope for at least some of the people that are unfortunate to be going through a similar journey at this time.”
Kevin, who was met at the finishing line at Shugborough Hall on June 14 by his wife Debbie, and sons Adam and Alex and their girlfriends Charlotte and Amy, will continue to have six months check-ups.