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Son battles cancer to take part in fundraising road trip with father
FATHER and son Chris and Tom Mason were today beginning an extraordinary car journey across Europe to the far reaches of Mongolia.
It marks the climax of two years of fundraising for charity, during which Tom, 22, discovered he had a rare form of cancer, but battled through to regain his fitness.
Chris, 52, and Tom, who live in Linton-on-Ouse, north of York, met with supporters at the Blacksmith’s Arms in neighbouring Newton-on-Ouse before heading off to the Goodwood Motor Circuit, today’s starting point for UK teams taking part in the Mongol Rally.
They will travel thousands of miles in a Daihatsu Cuore they bought for a few hundred pounds. They have so far raised £11,600 for the Teenage Cancer Trust. Tom was diagnosed with cancer in November 2010 while studying in the Dutch town of Utrecht as part of a geography degree he was taking at Leeds University. Only weeks earlier he had been helping his dad to launch a charity nudes calendar that, together with a raffle and auction at the Blacksmith’s Arms, raised £8,500 for three charities.
The news led them to postpone their plan to enter the Mongol Rally last year, but they are now finally on the starting grid. In the meantime, their family – Chris’s wife, Alison, 50, and twin daughters Ellie and Georgina, 19, – and friends joined in with the fundraising. Tom, who stands 6ft 7 inches tall — two inches taller than Chris – underwent nine cycles of chemotherapy and lost his hair, but never his will to beat the disease.
Tom said: “I counted myself lucky. The prognosis now is that I have an 80 per cent chance of the disease never returning. If I get through the next four years, I will not have cancer. Even when I was diagnosed, I always thought we would still go. Now I’m filled with a mixture of nerves and excitement.”
Chris, who works at the Sony Centre in York, said: “I started to see the light as soon as Tom started chemotherapy, but it was the worst time for all of us.”
Looking ahead to the rally, he added: “I always said we would try again to do it. I have always like challenges and that is very evident in Tom. We both like to get on and do things.”
Tom, who graduated yesterday with a degree in geography, also completed the Sheffield 10K road race and London Marathon for the Teenage Cancer Trust.
To follow their progress visit mongolrally12.theadventurists.com/masons2mongolia2 or facebook.com/chris.mason.374