A Sabden granddad, who took up running as therapy just over a year ago, is to take part in his first ever marathon on Sunday at the age of 71 to raise money for the Rosemere Burnley Chemotherapy Unit Appeal.
Retired engineering consultant Adrian Melton, of Cobden Close, is aiming for a very creditable sub five hour distance debut in the notoriously blustery Blackpool Marathon.
My message to mental health sufferers is you can get better. It’s not easy but don’t be ashamed to tell peopleAdrian
Crossing the finish line will entitle him to collect more than £500 in sponsorship money for the appeal, which is raising money for a new, second-to-none chemotherapy unit at Burnley General Hospital.
Adrian’s wife of 49 years Pamela is a patient at the hospital’s current chemotherapy suite. Pamela was diagnosed with breast cancer just over six years ago, which doctors discovered had also spread to one of her lungs. She initially attended the unit for chemotherapy and now returns there every three weeks to receive Herceptin, a medicine that reduces the risk of breast cancer re-occurring.
While the run is a thank you to the suite’s staff, Adrian is also using it to try and raise awareness of mental health issues. This is because three years ago, Adrian suffered a mental health breakdown and was, in his own words, “a mess”.
Prior to his breakdown, not only had Adrian set himself the task of being strong to help Pamela through her cancer battle, which ended a long held retirement dream of spending six months of the year living in Spain, he also had to cope with the devastating loss of eldest daughter Paula.
Paula died five years ago after suffering a brain bleed following surgery to remove an aneurysm. The bleed left her with locked in syndrome. She died a fortnight later.
Adrian said: “I was a typical man – afraid and ashamed to admit that I had mental health issues. I was at rock bottom but thanks to loving family support, great help from the mental health team and high levels of medication, I slowly started to improve and see some light at the end of the tunnel.”
It was Adrian’s younger daughter Sheralyn, who encouraged him to give running a go and to join her in a 10K race in support of a charity she was raising money for. Adrian explained: “The run was in Blackpool on my 70th birthday and I had never run before.”
Adrian treated himself to some proper kit and ran a 5K in Towneley Park, Burnley, before racing home in the 10K in under an hour .
He then went on to finish last year’s Great North Run in Newcastle.
Adrian added: “My message to mental health sufferers is you can get better. It’s not easy but don’t be ashamed to tell people.
“There is still misguided prejudice by ignorant people but they are the ones who have a problem.
“I still have bad times – the mental health team call them wobbles – but I now know I can get through them with the skills and awareness that I have been taught and running helps.”
To sponsor Adrian in Sunday’s marathon, log on to www.justgiving.com and type in Adrian Melton.