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Fakenham family raises thousands of pounds for cancer charity

PUBLISHED: 14:00 06 March 2018

Liz Johnson stands in grey with her family. From left to right. Paul Colman, Lily Johnson, Laura Johnson, Chris Johnson, Charlie Johnson, John Johnson, Liz Johnson and Emma Colman. The four with the Marsden tee shirts are taking on the Marsden March, while the rest of the family will support them. Picture: Archant

Liz Johnson stands in grey with her family. From left to right. Paul Colman, Lily Johnson, Laura Johnson, Chris Johnson, Charlie Johnson, John Johnson, Liz Johnson and Emma Colman. The four with the Marsden tee shirts are taking on the Marsden March, while the rest of the family will support them. Picture: Archant

Archant

A family from Norfolk has raised thousands of pounds for cancer research by taking part in one of the country’s biggest fund raising events.

Liz Johnson and her husband John who is planning to take part in a charity walk to raise money for the Royal Marsden. Picture: Ian Burt Liz Johnson and her husband John who is planning to take part in a charity walk to raise money for the Royal Marsden. Picture: Ian Burt

The annual Marsden March challenges fund raisers to take on a 14 mile or five mile charity walk between The Royal Marsden hospitals in Chelsea and Sutton.

This year the Johnson family from Hempton, near Fakenham, took part to thank The Royal Marsden for the support that they have been given since grandmother, Liz Johnson, 63, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.

Mrs Johnson’s son, daughter and daughter in law all completed the full 14-mile walk on Sunday and they were joined by her husband, John Johnson, who completed the shorter five mile route.

The family estimate that they have raised almost £3,000 for the charity, beating their original goal of £2,000.

Speaking before the march, Mr Johnson said the family wanted to do something for The Royal Marsden because “we’ve had so much good from them”.

He added: “The way they have treated Liz is top class, it really is the best.”

In February 2016, Mrs Johnson was told that she had just months to live and she was referred to The Royal Marsden in Sutton. Through the charity, she became one of the first people in the country take an experimental drug called lenvatinib and the results have been miraculous.

Two years on, she is still alive, her tumours have shrunk by 50pc and she was even able to make it to the march and stand on the sidelines, cheering on her family while taking care of her grandchildren.

“It was a lovely day, I was so glad to have made it,” she said.

“It really meant the world to me to be there and see all these people and think that they are all doing it for the one cause. It was also a really emotional day.

“At first it was a bit touch and go due to the weather but fortunately there was very little snow once we got there and I really couldn’t believe the number of people who had come out for the same cause.”

The life-extending results of lenvatinib have paved the way toward a recommendation from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) that the drug is made available for NHS use, potentially giving up to 1,300 cancer sufferers much longer life expectancy.

Norfolk woman helps pave the way for revolutionary cancer drug

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