A Lincoln man and three friends are ‘United Against Cancer’ as they prepare for a charity challenge in memory of those close to them who sadly died of the heartbreaking disease.
Lee Parkinson’s world was turned upside down when he lost his mum Karen to throat cancer at the age of just 53 on March 17, 2020.
Just two months later his grandad Benjamin Beswick, 82, died of lung cancer on May 29, 2020. Earlier this year Ben’s partner, and Lee’s nan, Judy died of bone cancer at the age of 78 on May 26, 2022.
Manchester United fan Lee, 32, was determined to do something for charity in memory of the three special people he had lost to cancer. His mum used to do a lot of fundraising for Macmillan so Lee decided that was the charity he wanted to complete his challenge in aid of.
Along with his friends Dane Sayce, 34, Lee “Giggsy” Borrill, 47, and Dale Wilkes, 44, Lee will be doing a charity walk from Lincoln to Manchester United’s stadium Old Trafford in time for the Red Devils’ opening game of the season against Brighton on Sunday, August 7.
They will be joined by their friend Darren Elkington who will follow behind in a ‘safety car’ for support along the way.
The friends will set off on Wednesday, August 3 and the route will see them stop in Cuckney, Nottinghamshire, Chesterfield and Chinley in Derbyshire, before the final destination of Old Trafford.
Three of the friends support Manchester United, but Liverpool-fan Dale who is doing the challenge in memory of his mum Mary who died of kidney, abdomen and lung cancer at the age of 78 on December 17 last year.
Lee, Dane and Lee will wear a combination of Manchester United and Macmillan shirts during the challenge. Dale has vowed to his friends that he will wear the football shirt of his bitter rivals Manchester United should their fundraising total reach £10,000.
Lee and his friends have so far raised over £2,600 via a JustGiving page – make a donation here.
Paying tribute to the three special people he has lost, Lee told The Lincolnite: “My mum was such a very friendly, outgoing person and loved a laugh. She always used to do a lot of fundraising for Macmillan which is another reason why we picked this charity.
“My nan was a similar person, and a bit stubborn at times, but she always looked out for me and had a great laugh and a joke with my friends, she was young at heart. My grandad was very friendly and would do anything for anyone.”
Seeing a man called ‘Speedo Mick’ who Lee met at Wembley when Manchester United played Everton in the FA Cup Semi-Final is what sparked the idea for the challenge, which the group expect to be 26 miles on the first day and 19 miles on each of the following days.
On the charity challenge, Lee added: “We think the first day won’t be too bad, but we know it will get tough in stages.
“As a collective we’ll drive each other on to get it done. We’ll have each other for support and to pick each other up and the memories of family we’ve lost will drive us on.
“It’s not just in memory of our families, but for anyone else going through the same struggle.”