Ian Burnell, aged 46 a Contracts Manager from WJ Croydon, is riding the Prudential Ride London on Sunday 30th July for Breast Cancer Now in honour of his long term partner, Diane, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2017.
Diane, who is 48, was drying herself after a shower when she felt a lump in her breast. She spoke to Ian who advised her to get it checked out, and after tests Diane was diagnosed with an aggressive, less common form of breast cancer called triple negative.
Within weeks, Diane had breast conserving surgery to remove the tumour, and then began chemotherapy. At this time, Diane was also taking medication for tuberculosis which ran alongside her chemotherapy treatment, leaving her especially worn out.
Ian says, “The initial diagnosis was a huge shock and came totally out of the blue, and brought home just how fragile life is and that it can change at a moment’s notice. I am exceptionally proud of how amazing she has been throughout, and how positive she has been through the cancer treatment so far.”
Diane, who lost her father in December 2016, has now finished her tuberculosis medication. “We’re just ticking things off the list”, says Ian. “It’s been very difficult, and there have been definite low points, but now it feels like the end is in sight”.
Diane’s chemotherapy is due to finish a week before Ride London, when she will start a three week course of radiotherapy.
On the day Diane received her diagnosis, Ian opened a magazine and a Breast Cancer Now leaflet fell out into his lap. He signed up to ride for Team Now immediately. “It was definitely a sign. Cycling has kept me going through all of this. It’s helped keep my mind occupied and has been something positive to focus on. I’d definitely have found it harder to cope with everything had I not been in training for Ride London”.
Ian has always been active, and began cycling after the 2012 Olympics, after tearing a ligament in his leg from running. He’s now been ‘bitten by the cycling bug’, and is looking forward to completing the 100 mile course whilst fundraising for Breast Cancer Now’s life-saving research.
“The very least I can do is to ride a few miles in order to be able to give something back to research into breast cancer, and to hopefully help someone else avoid going through what we are. Too many women are diagnosed with this awful disease. I want to join Breast Cancer Now’s vision that if we all act now, by 2050, everyone who develops the disease will live.”
Ian and Diane’s son Ashley, the eldest of their children, will be on hand to drive Diane around the Ride London course on the day, to cheer Ian on.
Support Ian’s fundraising at: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ian-burnell2017