A BRAVE husband who battled back from the brink of death is gearing up to run the Miles for Men course, a year after he had to be pushed round in a wheelchair.
Hartlepool man Richard Griffiths was told by doctors at one stage of his 30-month cancer battle that they could do no more for him.
But the dad-of-two, who first diagnosed with a lymphoma in August 2010, battled back and has been free of all symptoms for nearly five months.
He is now set to run the 5k Miles for Men course along on Sunday, July 28, in aid of Cancer Research UK.
The first Miles for Men event in Hartlepool saw 1,000 men of all ages run, walk, or jog a three-mile route in aid of the national cancer charity.
Speaking at the launch, Richard, 32, of Elgin Road, said: “This is a cause very close to my heart.
“Last year was amazing and although I was in a wheelchair for most of it I did manage to walk the last stretch.
“But this year I am determined to run the course this year and I am building up my fitness and doing daily exercises.” added the dad of Brandon, six and twelve-year-old Sophie.
Miles for Men raised £40,000 for Cancer Research UK and it was such a success that it will be rolled out to Liverpool and Newcastle as well this summer.
Richard also looks to have been cured of the rare blood disorder Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome which had caused him all his problems in the first place.
His battle started in August 2010 when it was confirmed he had cancer of the lymph glands and it was in both sides of his upper torso.
Seven days of intensive chemotherapy followed to completely remove his own marrow, until he was left with no immune system and nearly a year after his biopsy, he got the operation he needed - two bags worth of bone marrow stem cells from the donor.
But that was just the start of Richard’s problems and he contracted a condition called Graft Versus Host Disease which caused his transplanted immune cells to attack his own body.
Over the past three years he has endured eight viruses, chest infections, shingles, bird flu and has spent the majority of time in hospital.
At one stage Richard was so ill, his weight dropped from 10st to 6st.
He has previously admitted being at “death’s door” and said: “It came down to whether my body could fight through it.
“The doctor told me it was up to me now.”
But just before Christmas last year he started to show signs of recovery and he is hopeful of having the all-clear within the next 18-months.
His loyal wife and registered carer Chiara, 33, said previously: “It is unbelievable to think what he has come through.”
Father-of-three Michael Day, 39, launched Miles for Men in memory of his dad Michael Senior, who died of throat cancer in 2007, aged 67.
Single Michael, of Innes Road, said: “It is great to have people like Richard taking part.
“It is proof that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
“It is unbelievable the way it has taken off and I would urge as many people as possible to sign up for this year’s event.”
Colourful comedian Roy Chubby Brown will be starting Miles for Men, which starts at Maritime Avenue and finishes at Seaton Carew Cricket Club.
People can register for Miles for Men by logging on to www.milesformen.co.uk