Mark’s cancer fight inspires ‘Mother of all Workouts’

A FRAMPTON Cotterell man’s ongoing fight against terminal cancer has inspired a huge fundraising effort.

More than 50 friends and supporters of Mark Butcher, 45, came together at a gym in Iron Acton to take part in a gruelling 15-hour workout which has raised thousands for the two charities helping him and his family, St Peter’s Hospice and Bowel Cancer UK.

It was named ‘the Mother of all Workouts’ after the 15-hours procedure father-of-one Mark spent having his cancer cut out in a procedure called ‘the Mother of All Surgeries’ by doctors.

By July 4 the fundraising effort had raised more than £19,000, from 590 donors.

Mark’s best friend David Champion, of Chipping Sodbury, organised the event and said it “proved what an unbelievably amazing place the world can be when people come together for a worthy cause”.

‘They stopped counting at 18 tumours’

Mark Butcher in hospital

Mark, the marketing director for pharmaceutical company Accord Healthcare, was diagnosed with bowel cancer in November 2021 after feeling an intense pain on his right-hand side.

A scan revealed that his bowel was completely blocked by a cancerous tumour and the cancer had spread to his liver.

He said: “At that point they believed they could cure it so later that day they took the biopsies and found that the cancer was in every section of my liver.

“They stopped counting at 18 tumours and at that point my diagnosis changed to palliative care. It was a huge shock and blow to me.”

Last year doctors performed highly invasive surgery on Mark to cut out all the cancerous cells, followed by heated chemotherapy to remove any remaining cancer cells.

He lost part of his liver, bowel and gall bladder in the procedure.

Mark said: “It’s such massive, invasive surgery that there’s a risk you might not make it through.

“I had scans afterwards which showed no evidence of cancer, but then I some more scans which showed that some of the cancer cells have grown back.

“I’m a year down the line now and I wouldn’t have had that extra year if it wasn’t for the surgery.

“My life is fairly independent at the moment – I get tired and I have a big scar but apart from that, you wouldn’t know that I’ve had an operation of that magnitude, which is incredible really.”

Lifelong friends

Mark (left) and David (right)

Mark and David grew up and went to school together in Wiltshire and after Mark met wife Vic, from Iron Acton, David met Jo, from Yate, and also moved to the area.

Mark Butcher was a regular at the Kokoro Fitness gym where the fundraiser took place in June, having joined with David.

David said: “The gym’s held a very special place for us and is the perfect place to honour Mark.

“He went into his diagnosis being the fittest and healthiest ever, which did help him in many of the treatments that he’s had.

“We planned a themed workout for every one of the 15 hours.

“We ended with ‘The Butch’, an intense workout reflecting Mark’s endurance.

“The outpouring of emotion and support for Mark was absolutely mind blowing and the money and awareness raised the charities is incredible.

“Many of us struggled on the day, but knowing what Mark has endured with such determination and perseverance continued to inspire us and kept us going – the fact that he and his family were able to be there on the day was amazing.

Mark and David embrace at the end of the workout, as supporters look on

“I have to finish by saying that none of this would have been possible without the incredible Kokoro Fitness community.

“More than 50 members took part, 18 of us did the full 15.5 hours but so many others contributed in so many different ways.

“I feel incredibly proud to be part of this gym and I know that we all achieved something truly special for Mark and the charities.”

Not an ‘old man disease’

Mark said the event aimed to raise awareness of bowel cancer in young people, saying “it’s definitely not an ‘old man’ disease,” as well as providing a boost for the two charities.

He said: “The Emotional Support team at St Peter’s Hospice are providing counselling for me, my wife and daughter.

“The Clinical Nurse Specialist team checks in with me too and I know that if we desperately need something such as extra medicines, we can contact them too. It’s invaluable knowing that.”

David said: “Mark’s a very special character and he’s very stoic. He’s carried on relentlessly in his pursuit to not take no for an answer.

“One of nicest things about doing this is the lovely messages of support we’ve received. Friends we haven’t seen in years have been in touch, sending messages and donations.

“Many have shared messages about the support the Hospice has offered them and that’s made us realise what a valuable service it is to the local community.

“We hope by doing this we can raise awareness that bowel cancer isn’t an old man’s disease and raise funds to support these charities.”

Donations are still being collected at the Mother of All Workouts JustGiving page.