A 36-year-old woman from Redhill is preparing to trek 1000km across the Sahara Desert to raise funds for national cancer charity, OcuMel.
Catherine Hutchison is embarking on the five day challenge to raise £20,000 after her husband was diagnosed with ocular melanoma.
Ms Hutchinson, who will begin the trek on Saturday (7 February) alongside two others, said: “It’s going to be a tough challenge with some very steep sand hills and I am told there is likely to be scorpions, which is frightening, but it is something I have to do.”
Ms Hutchinson’s husband was diagnosed with the rare form of eye cancer following a routine eye test. He was sent with an urgent referral to Moorfields Eye Hospital where he was diagnosed with a tumour in his right eye.
Due to the size of the tumour, Mr Hutchinson had his eye removed but has since learned that the cancer is likely to mutate to his liver.
There is currently no cure for ocular melanoma and in an estimated 50% of cases the cancer mutates elsewhere in the body. Around 600 people are diagnosed with the condition each year in the UK.
OcuMel supports patients diagnosed with the rare cancer and provides information and support to family members.
National director of OcuMel, Jo Gumbs, said: “We are in awe of Catherine taking on such a demanding challenge and the incredible support that her family and friends have shown. There is a real need for more research into rare cancers to find further treatment options to prolong and even save lives. We need funds to continue our work trying to bring doctors and pharmaceutical companies together with the ultimate goal of finding a cure for this rare form of cancer.”
Those who wish to support Ms Hutchinson’s challenge can visit her fundraising page.