Mark Harris is the creative brains behind Pedal the Borders. The 62-year-old turned to cycling to help him regain fitness after being diagnosed with Mantle Cell Lymphoma in 2012. The aggressive and rare form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma attacks the lymphatic system – part of the body’s immune system.
After undergoing an intensive round of chemotherapy at the Lingen Davies Cancer Centre, based at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, as well as having a bone marrow transplant at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, Mark took to the saddle to recover, and do everything he could to make the most of his second chance and prevent cancer coming back.
He said: “As a result of that time I met a lot of people going through the same process, and from talking to them I promised myself I would live a better life. I now have a greater understanding of what I was doing that perhaps lead to me getting cancer, certain lifestyle choices I was making, the pressures of life, poor eating, poor sleeping, general lack of exercise.
“I had a totally different attitude when I came out of treatment and was in remission. I found exercise and wanted to give my body the best chance to recover. I wanted to make the most of being given a second chance and reduce the risks of cancer coming back.
“I’ve taken part in various fundraising rides for Lingen Davies before but I wanted to do something more, especially after the pandemic,” he added.
Mark’s wife Dean Harris was the former High Sheriff of Shropshire and heavily involved with Lingen Davies Cancer Fund, through this Mark met, and started working with the team. “Lingen Davies is really close to my heart, I want to do everything I can for it. I’ve always thought that an event to highlight the importance of cancer awareness and fundraise for patients while supporting families would be a great thing for Shropshire.
“Pedal the Borders offers people a great experience, it’s fun, it’s challenging, it’s inclusive, people can take part individually or as a team, it’s an event that links Shropshire and Mid-Wales – it brings the Lingen Davies community together. We had a great first year and achieved a phenomenal sum of money for the charity.
“Whether someone reading this is going through cancer treatment themselves, has already had their own cancer experience, or has never even known anyone to go through it, I would urge everyone to think about getting involved with this cycling event. Cycling is a great way to stay fit, keep well, maintain a positive outlook, and Pedal the Borders will be a wonderful day for everyone.”