Monday, 27 September 2021

Dentist extracts money on charity walk

A HENLEY dentist and his wife plan to walk 100 miles in three days to raise money for charity.

A HENLEY dentist and his wife plan to walk 100 miles in three days to raise money for charity.

Patrick Chen, 53, who has worked at the Blandy House Dental Practice in Hart Street for 28 years, will tackle the Howard’s Way Walk with wife Brigitte for the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund.

The couple, from Wallingford, will be part of a group of about 20 walkers tackling the Two Moors Way across Exmoor and Dartmoor, starting on Friday and finishing on Sunday.

The walk was started by their friend Howard Kerr, from Watlington, eight years ago.

Mrs Chen, a former nurse, said: “Howard was 46 at the time and got pancreatic cancer. He realised there was little pre-diagnostic work done on the disease so by the time it’s diagnosed it’s pretty much too late.

“He wanted to set up a charity to raise money for pre-diagnostic research. It’s a research fund and it’s now based at Bart’s Cancer Institute in London.”

Mr Kerr lost his battle against the disease in August 2008 but completed the first walk across the Ridgeway. More than £350,000 has been raised for the charity since the annual walk began and it is estimated that the fundraisers have walked a combined total of about 12,600 miles.

Mrs Chen, who has completed all seven walks, said: “All the challenges we have done have been over 90 miles.

“Normally we have done three-and-a-half or four days, so this is the hardest one yet.

“Psychologically, more than 30 miles a day is really hard. Your feet give way, you get blisters and you lose toenails.”

The walkers will begin in Ivybridge and finish in Lynmouth. They will include Mr Kerr’s daughter Octavia and brother-in-law Nick Grecian.

His widow Jane will support the team, cooking food and having drinks ready. Mrs Chen said: “Most of us have done all the walks as we were either friends or people who had worked with Howard.

“It’s a real challenge but you do feel really good after it. You can’t believe what you have walked.”

Mr Chen said: “We have done it before so I know what I’m in for. It’s much harder than people think. It will be ugly but we’ll do it.

“Howard was a good friend of mine and it’s in memory of him. I’m very close to his remaining family. It’s such an important cause — I lost my uncle to pancreatic cancer.”

The dental practice’s patients have donated to the cause and Mr Chen thanked them for their generosity.

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