Scarborough pensioner embarks on mammoth 64-mile fundraising walk in memory of wife who battled cancer

A Scarborough pensioner is embarking on a mammoth 64-mile fundraising walk in memory of his late wife.

After sadly losing his wife Sylvia to cancer in 2019, 72-year-old John Hastings is fundraising for Leeds Hospitals Charity to show his appreciation for the care she received throughout her treatment.

To mark what would have been their fourth wedding anniversary on April 29, John is walking and cycling the equivalent distance from his home in Scarborough to the Bexley Wing at St James’s Hospital, Leeds.

Each day, John will cover 21.4 miles on a route around Scarborough, including the A64, and by the end of the third day he will have covered 64.2 miles.

John, 72, prepares for his fundraising walk.

Sylvia was first diagnosed with cancer when she was just three years old, in 1948, and travelled from her home in Scarborough for treatment in London, where she lost sight in her left eye after the tumour was removed.

Sixty-three years later, Sylvia discovered an itchy lump on her arm, which doctors confirmed was cancer and removed in an operation at Leeds General Infirmary.

In 2014, Sylvia had a full body scan at her local hospital which revealed that the cancer had metastasized to her ovaries, stomach and bowel. Thanks to an operation, doctors hoped for an additional five years’ survival.

In February 2017, Sylvia received a letter from St James’s Hospital to say she would now have to undergo palliative treatment after finding clouds on her lungs.

John and Sylvia on their wedding day.

John proposed to Sylvia a day later on Valentine’s Day and the couple were married on April 29, 2017. Just a week later Sylvia was back in hospital to begin her palliative treatment at Leeds Cancer Centre.

John said: “Sylvia was so brave, she took everything in her stride. I know she would have been so supportive of my fundraising; we once did a sponsored cycle on a tandem when seven of our family members were fighting cancer, she was determined to help them – we raised thousands. So many people are going through this worrying situation.”

Sylvia’s determination spurred her on through two more years of gruelling treatment and she felt well enough to go on a caravan rally during Christmas 2018.

However, just a few weeks later Sylvia had a fall at her friend’s house and was rushed to hospital, and passed away on February 1, 2019.

John has already raised almost £1,250. If you would like to sponsor him contact the fundraising team on 0113 539 7020 or email [email protected]