This guy’s re­ally made his Mark

Sunday Mirror - - KHAN SAIRA -

I fre­quently meet peo­ple far more in­spi­ra­tional than I am when I do my races and treks.

While I am in Cam­bo­dia rac­ing this week I’d like to share a tale about Mark Solan, who I met in Oc­to­ber and have thought of ev­ery day since.

He’s prob­a­bly the most in­spi­ra­tional and self­less man I have come across. Mark is an or­di­nary guy but, sadly, many of those close to him died far too young of can­cer or can­cer-re­lated ill­nesses. Like his beloved Mam, who died at just 43. I can’t imag­ine what that must have been like for him.

But, un­like so many, Mark de­cided to use his sad ex­pe­ri­ences to drive him as a force for good and he helped launch the Solan Con­nor Fawcett Fam­ily Can­cer Trust. Mark is seen with me, above, dur­ing my 190-mile March for

Men walk. While strid­ing along he told me how the char­ity helps needy peo­ple in County

Durham with things like fix­ing a boiler, get­ting a new fridge, putting food on the ta­ble and sadly, all too of­ten, pay­ing for a funeral.

This is a tiny char­ity sup­ported by the com­mu­nity in

Spen­ny­moor – help­ing peo­ple when they need it most and have no one to turn to. I can’t imag­ine what I would do if hav­ing can­cer also meant that I could not work or feed my chil­dren. He had me in tears hear­ing some of the har­row­ing sto­ries.

So last week, I sent the char­ity a box of un­opened toys and a cheque that I was go­ing to spend on a hol­i­day so that they could be used for chil­dren who have noth­ing to ex­pect this Christ­mas – or be sold to raise fur­ther funds.

Please visit their web­site and see if you can help them too – it’s team­solan.org.uk.

Af­ter all, where would you be if you were ill and could not work or were car­ing for an­other?

If you can do some­thing for a cause close to you it would make a world of dif­fer­ence for peo­ple when all else is fail­ing.

Until next week

He had me in tears with some har­row­ing sto­ries of peo­ple in need... we can all help

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