Nick pro­vides a bea­con of hope for can­cer suf­fer­ers

Irish Independent - - Sport -

ELA­TION is not the first word that comes to mind when you are bat­tling can­cer and have just finished a 2,000 km walk from Malin Head to the Old Head of Kin­sale.

But for English­man Nick Ed­mund (57), com­plet­ing his four-month jour­ney along the Wild At­lantic Way has been thor­oughly sat­is­fy­ing and even en­joy­able as he played the fourth hole at 40 clubs along the way to bring global aware­ness of his Glob­alGolf4Cancer campaign.

“I am very pleased in that I feel we have es­tab­lished some­thing and I am very ex­cited about the fu­ture,” said Nick, who set off on the fi­nal leg of his jour­ney to the light­house at the Old Head of Kin­sale with GUI pres­i­dent John Molough­ney proudly play­ing the pipes (right).

“I am in­cred­i­bly grate­ful for the re­cep­tion we had in Ire­land. We were con­fi­dent it was the right place to launch the campaign, and I don’t re­gret it for a sec­ond.

“So I am happy about what has hap­pened here but even more ex­cited about the fu­ture. Two months on my own di­ag­no­sis gave me a lot of think­ing time and an op­por­tu­nity to look to the fu­ture and other projects.”

Those projects in­clude plans to walk from Prest­wick to Dornoch in Scot­land this au­tumn as well as trips across parts of South Africa and North Amer­ica.

“The wel­come has been con­sis­tently fan­tas­tic and it is ab­so­lutely up­lift­ing,” said Nick, who had his right parotid gland and the lymph nodes on the right side of his neck re­moved be­fore he com­pleted the first 1,000 km of his jour­ney along the Wild At­lantic Way last spring.

He planned to com­plete the sec­ond half last au­tumn, walk­ing a fur­ther 1,000kms from Gal­way to Kin­sale. But his plans were thwarted when a new can­cer di­ag­no­sis re­quired him to un­dergo four weeks of ra­dio­ther­apy treat­ment fol­lowed by nine-and-a-half hours in surgery to re­place his scalp with a graft from his left thigh.

“I was de­ter­mined any­way, but if any­thing the new tumour made me more de­ter­mined not to let it beat me,” ex­plained Nick, who re­sumed his jour­ney on March 4 and had strangers rush up to press crum­pled €20 notes into his hand and wish him well, some of them walk­ing with him for part of the jour­ney.

“Bizarrely, I feel bet­ter right now than I ever had in my life. Grow­ing the campaign re­ally ex­cites me, and it has given me an in­jec­tion of pos­i­tiv­ity.

“It has made me re­alise so clearly what is im­por­tant and I ap­pre­ci­ate things more than I ever did be­fore. It’s up­lift­ing to get to see such a pos­i­tive side to peo­ple, and I am ex­cited about what’s ahead.

“There was no bet­ter place to fin­ish than the light­house because they are sym­bolic places and one of the most mem­o­rable things has been peo­ple en­joy­ing fly­ing the flag for some­body. “The campaign has also been about spread­ing some light in peo­ple’s lives, and fin­ish­ing by a light­house sym­bol­ises a bea­con of light or hope.

“It’s been 2,000 km split over four months. The walk is all about build­ing a campaign, and hope­fully, in a few years lots of golfers around the world are fly­ing the flag.”

He will be back in Ire­land in July, re­turn­ing to Bal­lylif­fin, where he be­gan his epic jour­ney last year, for the Dubai Duty Free Ir­ish Open.

His dream is to see the Glob­alGolf4Cancer flag fly­ing on the par-five fourth hole at Bal­lylif­fin’s Glashedy Links on July 4, when the Pro-Am takes place.

“With Bal­lylif­fin be­ing the first and the fact that it’s host­ing the Ir­ish Open and Old Head and its light­house be­ing the last, it all had a sense of some­thing that was meant to be,” he said.

“To see the flag fly­ing on the fourth hole on the 4 July in the Ir­ish Open ProAm would be ideal but we will have to wait and see.”

Nick Ed­mund cel­e­brates the com­ple­tion of his walk at the Old Head, Kin­sale

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