High Wych man takes Cycle The Month challenge for Prostate Cancer UK after dad faces new battle
Great-grandad Jim Birse has conquered Covid-19 and is giving his brain tumour a run for its money – and as if that wasn't enough, he has a new battle to face.
Jim, 74, from Takeley, has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, and son Terry says he is forever in awe of his courageous father.
"He never says he's in pain – the resilience he has is amazing," said Terry, 55, of High Wych.
Now Terry is embarking on a charity bike challenge to raise money for Prostate Cancer UK and awareness in the process.
He is taking part in the national charity's Cycle The Month fundraiser, in which participants are asked to cycle a cumulative 100 miles through the month of August.
So far Terry has clocked up nearly 40 miles on his trips out along country lanes from his home to Allens Green, Spellbrook and further afield. He has even negotiated the roadworks at the Edinburgh Way roundabout in Harlow!
There's £224 raised on his Just Giving page so far, and although he was reluctant to set a target he hopes to top £500.
But for Terry, the need to raise awareness of the cancer is more important. After his dad was diagnosed, Terry went to his GP and requested a prostate check-up, which showed he was in the clear.
He is pleased to report that Jim, a grandfather of 14 and great-grandfather to three, is doing really well.
In April the Independent reported on the trauma of Jim catching Covid-19 and his family's fears due to the brain tumour being an underlying health issue. Jim recovered and went to stay with Terry and wife Jo, but was very weak and lost a lot of weight.
"When he came out of hospital he was nine stone – he's now 11 and a half," said Terry, who revealed mum Pam had been feeding up his dad.
"She asked Dad what he fancied and he said 'pie and mash', so we contacted the local café." When staff at Trackside Diner in The Maltings heard, they said they would provide whatever Jim wanted and whenever.
It seems to be doing the trick for Jim as, in amongst his treatment, he has been gardening and climbing ladders doing maintenance at his home in Takeley.
"I popped round the other day and he was sitting on the sofa looking exhausted," said Terry. "When I asked what he'd been doing he said he'd been cutting down a hedge!"
To donate to Terry's Cycle The Month fundraiser visit https://bit.ly/3fLTJmC .