A brave father-of two, diagnosed with advance-stage kidney cancer, is embarking on a fund-raising challenge for St Nicholas Hospice Care.
Despite a recent deterioration in his health, Mark Pusey is determined to celebrate his 50th birthday in August and is marking his milestone year with a ‘50 more books’ challenge, which will see him read as much as he can each week.
The book-lover hopes to raise £5,000 for the Bury St Edmunds hospice where, if necessary, he has made arrangements to spend his final days.
Praising the hospice’s community team and family-friendly approach, he said: “The hospice is a fantastic resource and it does a lot more than you think it does.
“And, let’s face it, most people in Bury are going to know someone who will need their services, and I’d like to appeal to them to support this in anyway they can.”
Prior to his devastating diagnosis in August 2010, Mark had no obvious symptoms.
In the October he underwent surgery at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, where his left kidney, which contained a tumour larger than the organ itself, was removed.
The cancer had already spread to his neck and lungs.
“I’m enormously grateful for the time that operation bought me,” said Mark, who received drug therapy for two and a half years before it began failing. He has recently undergone radiotherapy.
“I can’t change it and I’ve had a lot of pleasure over the last few years,” he said, recalling family holidays and his youngest daughter Sophie’s first day of school.
“I actually feel it’s a privilege to know it’s coming. I feel sorry for the people who drop dead on the golf course. Think of all the conversations they never had and the letters they never wrote.”
Waterstones in Buttermarket, Bury, is donating books for Mark’s challenge and displaying his book reviews.
To sponsor Mark, go to www.justgiving.com/50morebooks
For details on his book reviews, go to 50morebooks.blogspot.co.uk
Find him on Twitter @mark_pusey and use #50morebooks when talking about his challenge, or when recommending books that he should read.