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Homerton lung cancer patient swims 5km for charity - and raises an incredible £5,000

PUBLISHED: 09:00 08 May 2018

Darren and Jonathan minutes after Darren had finished his swim. Picture: Darren Cainey

Darren and Jonathan minutes after Darren had finished his swim. Picture: Darren Cainey

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A Homerton lung cancer patient who swam 5km for charity has raised more than 10 times his target.

Darren's four-year-old son Jacob with the 'go Darren' sign. Picture: Darren CaineyDarren's four-year-old son Jacob with the 'go Darren' sign. Picture: Darren Cainey

Darren Cainey, of Milborne Street, spent just over two hours completing the challenge for Swimathon, Cancer Research and Marie Curie on April 28.

Darren’s swim at Clissold Leisure Centre has already raised £5,070 – eclipsing his original target of £500.

The 51-year-old English teacher was diagnosed with lung cancer four years ago. At the beginning as well as radiotherapy he had chemotherapy because his diagnosis was inoperable. He hasn’t been receiving treatment for three years now, though he still sees the doctor for regular appointments.

Darren told the Gazette: “It has been a very emotional experience, partly because quite a lot of people I know didn’t know I had cancer and so it was a bit of a shock for them.

Darren Cainey and colleague Jonathan Spalton during a training swim together the week before the event. Picture: Darren CaineyDarren Cainey and colleague Jonathan Spalton during a training swim together the week before the event. Picture: Darren Cainey

“Everybody has been so fantastic and generous.

“It has encouraged me to continue swimming as it gives me a different kind of fitness to cycling and I feel it’s good for my lungs.”

Darren has been swimming since he was child but originally planned to raise money through a sponsored cycle.

Those plans fell by the wayside when he realised he didn’t have time for the training.

“I chose swimming because I saw the Swimathon banners at the Aquatics Centre when I took my son for his swimming lesson,” he said.

The 5km swim is even more impressive considering that, after radiotherapy, Darren broke two ribs. But it wasn’t the physical exertion or huge fundraising success that stuck with him.

Asked about the most memorable part of the challenge, he said: “Seeing my little boy holding up a sign that a friend made with ‘Go Darren’ on it.”

A cake sale at work, netting £1,600, helped him smash his target, though Darren said his greatest debt is to his wife and son, who not only helped him during the lead up to the swim and supported him on the day, but had of course been there with him since the day he was diagnosed in April 2014. He also thanked his colleague Jonathan, who did part of the challenge alongside him, swimming 2.5km in 46 minutes.

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