Great North Run Founders complete 500 mile hike for charity close to their hearts

To celebrate twenty years since his successful treatment for stomach cancer, John Caine, along with friends; Brendan Foster, Ian Stewart and Eric Wilkins, took on the challenge to complete a 500 mile hike of the Camino de Santiago.

After five weeks of walking across Northern Spain, the group, who were part of the Great North Run’s original organising team, have finally reached the finish line.

John was diagnosed with gastric cancer twenty years ago. But thanks to surgery - and the care of the team at the Northern Oesophago-Gastric Unit on Ward 36 at the Royal Victoria Infirmary – his treatment was a success.

To mark the 20th anniversary of his treatment, John was determined to do something to say thank you to the unit. To raise the money he hiked 500-miles across Northern Spain with Olympic long distance medalists; Brendan Foster and Ian Stewart, as well as Rugby player Eric Wilkins. John’s friend, Andrew Weaver, also joined the team for part of the journey to show support for another friend who was also a patient on ward 36.

“Over the past five weeks we've shared our efforts and laughs with each other and had a memorable adventure along the way, all in order to raise funds for a cause close to my heart” Said John.

“It's been a wonderful, worthwhile journey and I am so grateful to everyone for supporting and sharing our experience.”

The 500-mile hike began on 11 September across the Camino de Santiago and after five long weeks, the team completed the expedition on 14 October.  

All funds raised will go to the Northern Oesopaho Gastric Cancer Fund to aid the ongoing research into the causes and treatment of oesophageal and gastric cancers.

“If it hadn’t been for the skills and care of the surgeons and nursing staff in 1999, I wouldn’t be here today and I would never have met my six wonderful grandchildren,” said John.

The team posted daily updates and photos via John’s Virgin Money Giving page throughout the journey. To find out more about their adventure, or to help John get closer to his target visit: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JohnCaine2


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