Bat­tler gives back to cancer so­ci­ety

South Waikato News - - NEWS - By CAITLIN WAL­LACE

When you pass Les Blake on the street, it is dif­fi­cult to de­ci­pher that the fit and ac­tive man you see has cancer.

Per­haps be­cause he’s more fo­cused on oth­ers.

The 63-year-old Toko­roa res­i­dent has been in­spired to help out fu­ture vis­i­tors of The Cancer So­ci­ety’s Lion’s Lodge in Hamil­ton – a place he called home while en­dur­ing weeks of ra­di­a­tion.

De­spite still bat­tling the ‘‘ big C’’, the ac­com­plished run­ner and his sup­port­ive wife raised $3200 for the lodge, in­clud­ing money raised from a half marathon Blake com­pleted last year and con­tri­bu­tions from the Toko­roa City Lions Club and Kin­leith well­ness com­mit­tee.

Blake said he also wanted to make a con­tri­bu­tion to en­hance the pa­tients’ time at the lodge, so four La-Z-Boy re­clin­ers, in South Waikato Com­mu­nity’s name, have been do­nated.

‘‘We did not want the money to get lost in the day-to-day run­ning,’’ he said. ‘‘ Com­pan­ion­ship and re­lax­ation at the lodge were two things that helped with my mind­set and we wanted to build on that.’’

Blake said it only seemed right con­sid­er­ing the ‘‘ as­tound­ing’’ num­ber of South Waikato res­i­dents who use the lodge.

The cou­ple met four Toko­roa res­i­dents dur­ing their short stay and Cancer So­ci­ety com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager Rachel Moun­sey said 716 nights at the lodge were used by South Waikato people last year.

It has been a tough road for the cou­ple, one that started four years ago with a rou­tine visit to the doc­tor.

It was an ab­nor­mally high prostate-spe­cific anti­gen (PSA) read­ing which led to a biopsy and even­tu­ally, the re­moval of his prostate in July 2010.

Blake was cleared of the dis­ease for the next two years but the cou­ple were soon to learn it was a high and ag­gres­sive cancer.

In Septem­ber 2012 Blake’s PSA el­e­vated again and not even med­i­ca­tion or hormonal in­jec­tions could halt its growth.

It wasn’t long be­fore Blake was re­ferred for seven weeks of daily ra­di­a­tion.

And al­though the treat­ment did not have a huge ef­fect on him, the daily com­mute was drain­ing, Blake said.

The pair con­tin­ued to work for five weeks as a way to slip back into nor­mal­ity, his wife said.

‘‘He didn’t think about the cancer, he was busy and with his mates.’’ In the last two weeks of ra­di­a­tion treat­ment, they were given a spot at the cancer lodge.

Blake said he was able to push through with help from or­gan­i­sa­tions like the Cancer So­ci­ety.

He plans to com­plete an­other half marathon with his daugh­ter and spend more time with his chil­dren in Aus­tralia.

The cou­ple say they do not know what the fu­ture holds but they will make ev­ery day count.

COM­FORT: Les Blake tests out one the La-Z-Boys do­nated to the lodge.

Photo: RAEWYN BLAKE/SUP­PLIED

HARD WORK: Les Blake was proud of his ef­forts in the half marathon to fundraise for the lodge.

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