Support

Telephone Support Line 0800 092 7640

Available Monday to Friday 9.00am-5.00pm

Telephone Support Line 0800 092 7640

Available Monday to Friday 9.00am-5.00pm

Telephone Support Line 0800 092 7640

Available Monday to Friday 9.00am-5.00pm

You may wish to fundraise yourself, with family and friends or within your local group. Whatever the idea, be it large or small, we know you will have a great time raising vital funds for Big C.

Did you know we have 12 charity shops across Norfolk including a dedicated Craft Supplies Shop, Furniture Emporium, Bridal and a high-end fashion Boutique? We are always looking for high quality donations.

Volunteer

We are always looking for volunteers including in our Support Centres, shops and at our Fundraising events. Volunteering is a great way to spend some free time, meet new people, and gain experience.

Help us build a new Cancer Support Centre in Norwich. Support our vision to bring greater cancer care nearer to home. Donate now.

Cycling the Norwich 100 for Big C

Cycling the Norwich 100 for Big C

On Sunday 29th May 2022, Lisa Johnson, 31, who lives in Hingham, will ride the Norwich 100 cycle event for Big C in memory of her father who died from oesophageal cancer in 2021.

Lisa and her partner, Alex Winter, are aiming to ride the full 100 miles through the Norfolk countryside out to the North Norfolk coast and back to Norwich Cathedral in celebration of the life of Vearnon Johnson, who was 58.

Lisa tells her story…

My Dad was an incredible man, truly one of a kind. His personality and laugh would fill a room. He had always lived an active lifestyle and always lived life to the full. We used to do a lot together; we shared a love for scuba diving and travel and we also did ju-jitsu together. He was, is, my best friend.

He started suffering with acid reflux in December 2019 during a fitness challenge we were doing, actually on behalf of Big C and it progressively got worse. He’d been to the Doctors but knew something wasn’t ‘right’ when he couldn’t swallow a mince pie at Christmas (they were his favourite!).

Lisa and her dad holding certificates
Photo: Lisa and Vearnon in 2015 when they completed their scuba diving Instructor Development Course in Utila, Honduras.

After Christmas he had an endoscopy and unfortunately was diagnosed with Stage 3 cancer of the oesophagus. At the time he was living in Ickburgh in Norfolk and underwent treatment at West Suffolk Hospital and Addenbrooks, which continued after moving close to Great Ellingham in September 2020. His treatment included chemotherapy and a major operation, all of which happened through lockdown 1.0 so he did a lot of this on his own. I also wasn’t able to spend time with my parents and my mum couldn’t go to the hospital with him. 

Lisa with her mum and dad dressed in 1920s clothes
Photo: Lisa with her mum and dad at her belated 30th Birthday Great Gatsby party

The operation was very invasive but he was home after a two weeks to continue with his recovery. He had a feeding tube and was only allowed small meals which had to be soft/liquid to start, then we could slowly introduce solids. The consultants were really happy with his recovery and amazed with how well he was doing. The chemotherapy that he received also damaged his heart which meant he had to be careful when doing a form of exercise. He was recruited onto a clinical trial at Addenbrookes with his last round of chemotherapy in November 2020 and we were optimistic when in April 2021, he was told there was no evidence of cancer in his three monthly scan.

Like many, 2020 was going to be a big year for me. I was turning 30 but due to restrictions I postponed my birthday celebrations to July 2021. It was my parents 35th wedding anniversary at the end of August and he planned a trip to London. Around that time my Dad weighed himself and mentioned he had lost weight, but didn’t seem too concerned as he was due another check up the following week. To be honest I think we were all in denial as looking back on photos he didn’t look very well.

The last event of the summer was my cousin’s wedding on September 8th. My dad was experiencing a lot of pain and discomfort but was dancing more than ever! We had such a wonderful time together as a family, but it was also the first time he expressed he was worried. The following Saturday he went into hospital because the pain was debilitating. Soon after we were told the cancer had returned. After 3 weeks, he was sent home with a virtual hospital ward but ended up back in the hospital 36 hours later. This is when we learnt the devastating news that the cancer was terminal.

My Dad sadly died on 15th October 2021. In a cruel twist of fate, only the year previously my Dad’s best friend of 30+ years had died of the same disease.

I don’t have any brothers or sisters and my parents and I used to call ourselves the three musketeers. My Dad’s passing was /is incredibly tough, trying to support my mum and cope with my own terrible grief. I didn’t know anyone else my age who had been through something similar so felt very alone. 

Having already been aware of Big C, in December 2021 I sought their support and started a course of bereavement counselling. I am not one to share my feelings easily and at first I was unsure how I would benefit, as nothing was going to bring my Dad back, but it really helped me view things in a different way. Big C gave me a safe space to speak openly about how I was feeling, my fears, worries, frustrations and how to support my mum.

I have decided to ride the Norwich 100/60/30 cycle event for Dad as during lockdown 2.0 and 3.0 we used to enjoy leisurely cycle rides and talk about life, future plans and other random things. Alex and I have chosen to do the 100 mile route for the challenge – go big or go home! It also means we’ll be heading out to the North Norfolk coast to remember him. He loved the sea and the beach so it’s a fitting tribute.

I hope to raise as much money as possible for Big C in his memory and want to thank everyone for their amazing support.

Norwich 100 is a beautiful classic 100-mile ride around Norfolk (with options of 30 and 60 miles too). Starting from City Hall and taking in the edge of the Broads, Horsey Mill, the coast (and some hills!) all the way to Cley and Blakeney, then a new route through Holt to Blickling Hall before food, drink and a medal back at the finish – Lower School by the Cathedral. To sign up and raise money for Big C visit Bit.ly/BigCNorwich100.

The event is registered with British Cycling and will follow Covid-safety advice from the Government, British Cycling and local statutory bodies.

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Find out how Big C can support you and your family if you’ve been affected by cancer.

We can help to improve your quality of life, physical health, and mental wellbeing.

Some people take to the skies, run, jump, walk, swim and cycle whilst others make tea, bake cakes or shave heads.

What will you do to make a difference?

Two men from Norfolk who found themselves with cancer and having to travel for treatment, vowed local people would have access to the best treatment and support … and in 1980 the Big C Appeal was formed.