LIFE-LONG sailing enthusiast Richard Parsons is ready to set sail this weekend after he was told he had cancer two weeks after signing up to take part in a yacht race.
Richard Parsons was so inspired by talk from a crew that had just taken part in the Rolex Fastnet Yacht Race competition that he signed up to join the next event.
However, just weeks later the dad-of-two was diagnosed with bowel cancer and faced surgery and chemotherapy and a long road to recovery.
Throughout his treatment the Silhillian never gave up his plan to take to the seas in the Rolex Fastnet Yacht Race.
Now Richard, a project manager with brewers Greene King, has raised over £4,500 for Cancer Research UK and cannot wait to set sail.
The Fastnet Race takes place every two years over a course of 608 nautical miles (1,126 km) starting in Cowes on the Isle of Wight , rounding Land’s End, the Fastnet Rock off the southwest coast of Ireland, passing the Isles of Scilly and finishing at Plymouth.
The 55-year-old said: “When I was diagnosed in February last year it obviously came as a major shock, but I stayed positive and kept active which I think really helped.
“I was determined that I would still be good to go for the 2017 Fastnet which will start on August 6.
“I have just one more training race to take part in then that’s it – let’s go!”
Richard, a keen sailor for 29 years and a member of the Balsall Common-based Heart of England Offshore Cruising Association, had his operation and chemotherapy at Spire Parkway Hospital in Solihull.
Richard added: “I did have some rough times but, to be honest, the treatment was nowhere near as bad as I had expected it to be. I also regularly attended sessions with the Macmillan Cancer Rehabilitation Scheme at Tudor Grange in Solihull, which really helped me to maintain my fitness.
“It is impossible to say how well we will do but we have a good crew and a great boat so the rest is down to the elements and what is thrown at us.
“Whatever happens it will be something I will remember for the rest of my life – which proves you’re never too old for adventures.
“Finishing the race and raising a load of cash for Cancer Research UK will be enough to keep me happy.”
For more or to donate to Richard’s charity visit www.justgiving.com/richardparsonsfastnet