Kev's Story So Far

Kev's Response to cancer

That dreaded first chemo session...
and kev's incredible decision immediately afterwards!

"On the 14th January 2015 -the day after my first chemo- I didn't sleep at all. When you have chemo they give you loads of steroids the day before, the day of chemo and the day after. The intention here is to help make the good things in your body recover but to me it felt like I'd had dozens of cans of energy drinks. You are wired. Add to that the very dark thoughts and sleep is not easily attainable.
I woke up, felt rubbish, tired, sick and sad. I got out of bed and looked out of the window, it was frosty and cold out there. After chemo you are supposed to take care as your immune system has gone so it's all-too-easy to catch anything that you come into contact with.
I looked at my wife and said "I am going for a run".
She looked at me in horror and simply said, “You can't!”

"During the week before I had run 20 miles, all the while thinking I would probably never run again, tears in my eyes but now, that morning, I had a choice. Cancer could win right here, right now, win without a fight, without a 'run for it's money'... or I could take it on, just see if its as tough as it thinks.
It was screaming at me “come and have a go if you think your hard enough" and I thought, “Yeah, lets see then.”
Kev stresses that we should all make the most of every pleasurable moment - no matter how small!
Running brings Kev a release and positivity - what brings you yours?

Chemo? Cancer? Never run again? No chance...

"So off I went. I was not totally reckless; I ran half a mile to the park and ran round the park for two miles and then ran home. Three miles, three slow, breathless, nauseating miles but oh the joy. Cancer had taken away my longevity, my retirement, 'relations' with my wife, the year of driving round Europe in a camper van, seeing my kids grow up, even the possibility grandchildren, etc. But it was not going to take away my running; not yet anyway. The smile on my face was probably the biggest since my kids were born or getting married to Sarah.

"I saw my oncologist and, sure, chemo was not plain sailing. Not one bit. I had temperatures, blood issues (those basement vampires again I am sure) and was admitted to hospital but I was still running, a bit further each time, it was still hard. But I was getting harder. I then asked my oncologist if I could run the Brighton marathon in April as I had already entered. It would be week 13 out of the 18 planned weeks of chemotherapy. He laughed but then realised I was serious.
He tried to put me off and said that “No one runs marathons on my chemo.” Finally he said, "If you can train for it you can run it".
Now that was a challenge. I went home and surfed the net to find who else had run a marathon on my kind of chemo, I could not find anyone. Now I know why he said what he said.
The importance of close friends can never be underestimated - Kev with Jim before Brighton 2015

week #13 of chemo = marathon

"Training got harder as I ran further and further. Still safety first: I didn't venture that far from home, running 6 mile loops around my house. I was never more than 2 miles away and carried a phone, money, warm clothes, food and even a label with my name and phone number on it... a bit like Paddington Bear's luggage tag!

"Race day came and I ran it with by best mate Jim; we had run the London to Brighton ultra together but that felt like a lifetime ago. Leading up to the race I had set up a sponsorship page for Prostate Cancer UK as they had been so supportive when I was getting diagnosed; they wanted a better test, better awareness and a cure too.

"Jim and I had Prostate Cancer UK running vests and we found another guy, Greg, about 18 miles in with a similar vest. He was running for his dad who had prostate cancer and the three of us did the last few miles together, joining hands as we went over the finish line. I can still see myself that day, the emotion crossing the line was like no other; smiles, tears, pain and satisfaction.. on steroids!

"A year before I had run the Brighton Marathon in 3h 48m, my best ever time. On chemo I did 4h 36m, nearly an hour slower but I guess that's chemo for you. I remember that race having loads of friends and family there, dotted all over to cheer me on. I was so, so grateful.
Brighton 2015 Marathon - "THAT incredible feeling running those final few miles, crossing the line, with those two guys right next to me"

"I always say better to start,
and not finish,
than to never start at all."
Kevin Webber

The London Marathon Comes Calling

"A few days after the race I was offered a sneaky place at the London marathon, which was in just two weeks. Jim was going too and he was desperate for a sub 4 hour marathon as he hadn't managed it yet, despite the fact he would probably have done so in Brighton but kindly gave up the chance so he could stay with me for the whole race.

"Up to about the 12 mile point we were on time to break four hours but somewhere around that distance I realised that I was never going to keep it up. I felt ok, just a bit slow to break that time, so I told Jim to go on ahead and do it. He was reluctant but I told him that this was his chance and there were so many people about that I would be fine if I had a wobble or fell ill.
Kevin in The London Marathon 2015 - on week #15 of chemo!
"So now I was on my own (well, amongst the thousands!) and loving it. At about mile 18 I saw a guy, Gary, with a Prostate Cancer UK shirt, on sitting down tying his laces. I started to chat with him only to discover that he worked for the charity and he had emailed me previously. We ran and chatted, then after a few miles he went off but it made me more determined than ever to support the charity he was so passionate about making a difference for.

"Just before The Mall I saw my wife was there, shouting at me and encouraging me. I was in pieces but pushing hard. I finished the race in 4h 24m! Faster by 12 minutes than 2 weeks ago and more emotion- just so happy with what I had achieved.

Sometimes, one thing just leads to another...

Chasing the pack in front during Race To The Stones 2015
Upon reflection, it all looks quite incredible; that diagnosis in November, chemo started in January, my first spluttering run just after and yet by April I'd managed a couple of marathons within a fortnight of each other- and I still hadn't finished my chemotherapy! Not that that stopped me thinking 'what next?' Me cancelling my place in an event called the Wall had left some unfinished business in my mind perhaps, after all it was 120k and couldn't countenance it during my radiotherapy and 120k is a much bigger fish than a 42k marathon. So I entered The Race To The Stones, which was 100k but split over two days which seemed doable all of a sudden; I thought after what I'd just done, then perhaps I could do consecutive marathons. And so I did, in July 2015.
The obligatory photo in front of a big.. stone! July 2015

The 'Everest' of Running

It's easy to write yourself off from something that appears difficult...

the crazy desert race

"When I was much younger, about 20, I'd read about this crazy desert race in Morocco called The Marathon Des Sables and I'd long since regarded it as so off the scale of what I thought was achievable by mortals. James Cracknell, the olympic rower and incredibly fit athlete, nearly died doing it and Sir Ranulph Fiennes just managed to do it within the time limit. Its one hell of a race. Effectively it's six consecutive marathons (including one double marathon day) carrying an 11kg pack across the Sahara Desert. I had always wanted to run it but the training and costs were prohibitive. Bless my wife; she knew how much it meant to me so told me to go for it. I discussed it with my oncologist and he said "Why would anyone want to run that, let alone someone in your condition?" I can't blame that reaction whatsoever, in fact I totally understand it but what he didn't realise is that the MdS was the only thing on my 'bucket list' and had become some kind of 'Everest of Running' in my mind.

"The race was not, however, just about the race anymore. It became a symbol to me, an opportunity to punch cancer in the face, to say to others who have some tough times that giving up is so often a mental thing - and it would give me a chance to raise awareness and money for prostate cancer. A chance to help improve the odds so that my boys, family and everyone's families will not have to deal with prostate cancer being a killer in years to come. I always say better to start and not finish than never start at all.

On Starting the marathon des sables not knowing
if he would even finish it, or worse :

"In April 2016 I boarded the plane en route to that year's MdS, not convinced I would finish the race but knowing that my foot would cross the bloody start line and that alone was more than I could ever have dreamt of after that day on the 6th of November, 2014. The race was all it was cracked up to be, make no mistake. Severe heat, more sand than you ever can imagine, extreme thirst, massive dunes and a camaraderie amongst the entrants like no other I have experienced before.

"In tent 105 there were 8 of us who didn't know each other and all had challenges and/or aspirations. We all struggled in some way or other but we all finished. I managed to finish 562nd out of around 1,200, so if that didn't give cancer another punch then I don't know what could.

"Since that week all the 8 of us have stayed in touch; Jeff has scaled Everest, not bad for a guy with replacement hips; Chris is running a marathon a week in 2018 for charity; Rory has run his 1,000th marathon and 14th Marathon Des Sables; and lastly, Nick is running 196 marathons, one in every country in the world and doing it for Prostate Cancer UK- because of me!

"I have always pushed myself as I feel that just doing the same, year on year, is not a challenge so in 2017 I had to do more. I also wanted to raise more money and awareness. So I decided to undertake 1,000 competitive or organised miles in that year. Why 1,000? Well, quite simply, because that is how many men we are told die, roughly every month, in the UK from Prostate Cancer. So the number has some real significance to it as far as I'm concerned.
Kev with Patrick Bauer at the finish line of the 2016 Marathon de Sables
Kev and Lloyd in the background at the finish of Jeff Stelling's March For Men 2017

Clocking up those 1000 competitive miles over 2017

"The events I undertook were all different. I ran a few UK ultramarathons and then set off to The Marathon Des Sables, again, and finished only this time in tent 107 with a different set of mates.. apart from Rory who was there again!

"I then joined the legend, Jeff Stelling from Sky Sports and did 15 marathons in 15 days around the UK; followed by a Spanish race called 'Al Andalus', which is 230k over five stages, one of which was during what turned out to be the hottest day on record in Grenada- 47.5c!

"Next it was off to the Fire and Ice ultra which is the same as the MdS, only this time in Iceland with nights at sub zero temperatures and finally, Rory's 1,000th marathon in Nottingham (whilst I was injured from Iceland). Throughout all these races I had to carefully balance my cancer treatment with the race and training, not always easy but a necessity. The disease and treatments are taking their toll but only insofar as it niggles but it never actually stops me.
Fire & ice Marathon in Iceland: Gnarly terrain, incredible scenery day and night

A Punch in the Face for cancer

Tragedy happens around us every single day, it is part of being human
and how we react to our own experience of it is what helps define us

3 Years of positive responses to cancer

"I started to realise that whilst I could raise a lot of money personally year on year, I could probably raise more if I inspired others to do things for Prostate Cancer UK. Around 88 colleagues and friends joined me on a day or more of Jeff Stelling's 15 in 15 and even more humbling, 60 of my colleagues, again (many who don't personally know me) walked their own marathon in London with me. At the end of 2017, my estimate of how much my friends and I have collectively raised is about £200,000, which is an amazing amount and I know that it makes a massive difference to Prostate Cancer UK, as they are a relatively small charity tackling the biggest male cancer!

"So, looking back over the last 3 years since my diagnosis, I guess my response to the arrival of such a horrible disease is not a standard one but, as far as I'm concerned, it is the act of defiance, the very notion of not accepting it as the end, which is the important thing. I don't expect everyone to do the same -to go out and run like Forrest Gump!- but if my response can also help inspire or motivate others to not give up without putting up the greatest fight then that is just another bonus punch in the face for cancer.

All I can say to you is this: make the most of every single day you have, that's important. But most importantly of all, smile as much as you can, everything is better when you're smiling!
Kevin & Sarah Webber celebrating completing Jeff Stelling's March for Men 2017

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This site & all of Kevin's missions, including a self-funded documentary about Making The Most of IT, are run by a VERY small bunch of volunteers, so if you think you can and would like to help us then of course we would LOVE to hear from you!!

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