Lisa does her bit to support cancer nurses

Lisa Perry takes part in a fitness fundraiser for Macmillan Cancer Support

Lisa Perry takes part in a fitness fundraiser for Macmillan Cancer Support - Credit: Macmillan Cancer Support

Ottery St Mary fundraiser Lisa Perry has played her part in a magnificent family effort that has raised more than £1,000 for the charity Macmillan Cancer Support.

Lisa and her brother David Withers took on a 40-day fitness challenge, inspired to raise money after their mother and father, John and Yvonne Withers, were both diagnosed with cancer during the pandemic.

John developed oral cancer during the first lockdown last March and Yvonne was diagnosed with breast cancer last September. Kept apart by the pandemic at such a worrying time, the family decided to come together, albeit virtually, to raise funds for Macmillan after the support they have received from the charity.

David, from St Teath, near Wadebridge in Cornwall, said: “Dad was diagnosed with oral cancer during the first lockdown after an earlier referral by his dentist at a routine check-up.

“Then we were dealt another blow when mum was diagnosed with breast cancer during the second lockdown. I heard the news on the day I was made redundant from my job due to the pandemic so all in all it’s been really tough. But we decided to make something positive out of it all and to give something back after the amazing support my parents have received from Macmillan, especially my dad’s Macmillan nurses.”

The family’s fitness fundraiser saw them challenge themselves to do something active each and every day for 40 days, finishing on March 13 with everyone in the family getting involved. 

Lisa did 40 minutes of pilates, spinning and walking along with her four-and-a-half-year-old daughter Amy. David did 40 minutes of running, swimming and walking or 40 sit-ups, skips or squats every day. His daughter Emma did 40 jumps on her horse over an NHS rainbow jump she made for every day that her grandad John was having treatment.

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Whilst undergoing treatment for cancer John, in Clevedon, North Somerset, joined in by alternating touching his toes 40 times as well as cycling on his exercise bike, push-ups and walking. Yvonne did a mixture of skipping, step-ups and walking for 40 minutes at a time. 

The family have raised £1010 so far.

This is not the family’s first foray into fundraising, this year marking 61 years of fundraising for John and 31 years for David, who started when he was just 14 years old after a family died of cancer. In that time David has skydived, walked on fire, leg-waxed and even swum the equivalent of the width of the English Channel for various charities. 

Lisa crocheted dolls hats, raising another £105 for Macmillan.

In addition to this month’s 40-day fitness challenge, Yvonne also made face masks during the first lockdown, raising £1,500.

Macmillan Cancer Support is doing whatever it takes to support people with cancer at this challenging time. The Macmillan Support Line is open seven days a week on 0808 808 00 00, where specially trained nurses and financial support advisors are there for anyone affected by, or worried about, cancer. They can provide comprehensive information and advice, as well as emotional support, to help people with cancer cope with the additional strain of the coronavirus pandemic.

Genevieve Drinkwater, Macmillan fundraising manager, said: “Huge thanks to the whole Withers family. The family has been through so much during the pandemic and we’re so grateful that they decided to raise funds for Macmillan at such a tough time. Due to the pandemic we are facing a big drop in fundraised income so it’s supporters like them that make it possible for us to continue to be there for so many people affected by cancer. Thank you team Withers!”

Cancer information and support, including the latest guidance on the impact of coronavirus on cancer care is available on

You can make a donation to the Wither’s family 40 day challenge here

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