Martin Dallison - You Only Live Twice. Martin Dallison was diagnosed with prostate cancer in October 2014, just a few weeks before his 52nd birthday. In January 2015 his medication changed and he was given a median expected survival of 18 months. Martin has been quite busy since. Here is his story, in his own words. Being diagnosed so young is truly hideous, made especially so given that I have a young family – two girls of 6 and 10. I decided to do as much as I can in the time I have left. I’m on the run from the police in the Dominican Republic, I’ve shot the rapids with my daughter, jumped off a mountain on a para-glider, crossed the desert in Namibia, managed to avoid polar bears in Svalbard and hippos and crocodiles on the Zambezi river. Time was also spent having consultations at Sloan-Kettering, the world famous cancer centre in New York and in the depths of Turkey with an alternative practitioner of herbal medicine. I continued with hormone therapy, but have avoided chemotherapy. So by 2016 I wanted to do something different! I haven’t done a sponsored event for 25 years (that’s before mobile phones and the internet!) but as this challenge is just so ridiculous for me in my current “form”, I thought people would help me. The plan was to trek 100km over 4 days from Courmayeur (Italy), through Switzerland and finish in Chamonix (France). That’s almost two-thirds of a marathon every day for 4 days whilst ascending some 5,045m and carrying my own gear. So what? Well, compare this to climbing Kilimanjaro: typically 6 days, covering 4,050m of ascent, 64km and with porters! Oh, and I’ve only got 30 days to train for this! I chose three charities: Streets of London – because not everyone is as fortunate as us; Prostate Cancer Research Centre – for obvious reasons and Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund – because I’m always happy to help our guys. One cold morning we set off. As the sun gleamed off the glaciers hanging by their fingertips from the southern faces of Mont Blanc, the minibus stopped and we stepped out into the chill morning air. That's one small step for man, one giant leap for a twit with a rucksack. A series of mumblings, checks and clicking of buckles could have been mistaken for a Special Forces team heading out on a covert mission. However, the mumblings weren't so much, “Ammo? Check. Burst transmitter? Check…” but more, “Snickers bar? Check. Cheesy nibbles? Check. Blister plasters? Check. Then 11 people put their best foot forward and the first of 155,399 steps was completed. We were now in Italy and heading to the land of cuckoo clocks and watches where we would spend our first night. The scenery in this part of the world is so amazing it can make your elbows burst! If Julie Andrews had come running over the horizon with some Edelweiss up each nostril no-one would have been in the least bit surprised. We climbed steadily throughout the day and the weather turned cooler as the clouds gathered around us. Gradually terra firma turned to snow and that's where the fun really started! Suddenly the pain in my legs and feet seemed to dissipate and I was in my element skiing down the mountainside on my boots (OK, sometimes on my ass). Others were less confident but anyone could tell from the screams of laughter that no mountain rescue was going to be needed! Ski poles and egos were the only casualty of those few hours and we eventually sidled into our farm dormitory for the first beer(s) and bottle(s) of wine of the evening. Day 2 was a slightly gentler affair as we picked our way through small Swiss villages and settled for the night by a lake, so cold, that my assets were frozen just looking at it. But that didn’t stop Emma and Nigel diving in, for money in their charity box of course. Day 3 was tough. Due to that late snow, we were forced to detour to a steeper, longer route as the risk of avalanche on our original path was too great. Here we were thankful of the light rain to cool us all as we descended 2,000m only to re-climb 1,700m and cross a wind-swept col back into France. Some 30km were completed that day, and pain and rain were now taking their toll, but the evening’s lasagne never tasted so good. Day 4 would be a breeze…wouldn’t it? Starting high in Vallorcine, all we had to do was walk down to Chamonix town centre. So how was it that we seemed to climb all day in the newly dawned heat of a summer’s day? Mont Blanc’s northerly face now shimmered down on us and once again the views were beyond adjective. Each day our guide Francois-Eric seemed to think it was his duty to carry a refrigerator full of haute cuisine through the Haute Savoie and lunch was a calorie fest of the kind of food only available to proper Europeans. Chamonix crept into sight as the day wore on and we got closer to the small church spire, our finish line. I wish I could say that the art of putting one foot in front of the other was as easy for me on this trip as it had been for the last 50 odd years (alcohol notwithstanding) but sadly I can’t. This was a physically painful challenge but there were some 200 of you at home and 10 other people aside me, pushing me on; pushing each other on, driving ourselves forward and laughing as hard as I’ve laughed for a long time (mostly at each other’s many misfortunes but that still counts). I’ve climbed Mont Blanc, Kilimanjaro, the Matterhorn, Khan Tengri and other great mountains but nothing compared to finishing this trek. 100km, 4 days, 5,100m of ascent, 10 new friends, but the final few steps to the church (well, the pub just behind it) were completely overwhelming. I had done it. We had done it. So sorry, no refunds. What next? Just another little walk across the Pyrenees into Spain along the Chemin de Liberte path (I don’t know, something about free chimneys) that was due in August, but |I’d do that one for free. They say, it’s not how fast you run or how high you climb, it’s how much you bounce! Unfortunately I couldn’t bounce high enough for Chemin de Liberte as the pain was too great and I had to stop. Nevertheless, I have been scuba diving in the Maldives since then and met a shark…but that’s another story. An enormous thank you to Martin from PCRC. He raised over £41,000 for the three charities.