What a Guy: Monkstown man swims a mile a day in aid of cancer research

by Gary Ibbotson

Guy O’Leary from Monkstown was diagnosed with bowel cancer after a routine check found a tumour in 2017. He was only 34-years of age.

A subsequent PET scan revealed that the disease had spread to his liver and he underwent a major operation and eleven cycles of chemotherapy.

He told Dublin Gazette: “My wife was the real hero in this challenge. She persuaded me to go and get tested. She knew my family history with cancer, but I thought 34 was too young to get tested.”

But plucky Guy had other ideas and luckily, he came out the other side.

He dedicated the month of May to raising funds for Cancer research – swimming a mile day alongside friends and family.

“The challenge was to do the first part in London and the second part in Dublin.

“The London part was done in various swimming pools and the Dublin leg was done in the sea at Seapoint and Killiney Bay, with the final day taking place on Friday week last in Dun Laoghaire harbour.”

“In total 45 people did a mile with me each day and this was a great help for me,” he said.

“I would like to thank the harbour master and Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council for allowing me to use the harbour. The funds raised (€75,000) will be presented to Cancer Research in both Ireland and the UK.

“I was young, fit, a non-smoker and a light drinker.

“Cancer takes everything from you. It robs all your dreams and hopes and plans for the future.

“I feel I went 18 months without achieving anything, so I needed a challenge.

“My sister Amy got married last Friday week, the same day as my final swim. I’m now back working after receiving my nine month all-clear, so things are on the mend.

“You never fully shake off the effects of cancer, but at last I can start doing some planning for the future.

“I wanted to tell my story and to let people know that half of us will experience cancer in our lives. So if you are have a family history of cancer, or don’t feel right, get it checked out.”

Guy has been cancer free since November 2018. To support cancer research please visit www.mileadayinmay.org

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