A kind-hearted Nuneaton fundraiser took to the skies for an adrenaline-fuelled challenge in honour of a brave Rugby woman who is dying from cancer.
Stephen Pratt, from Whitestone, raised more than £800 after performing a daring loop the loop in a glider on Saturday in aid of Arden Angels, founded by Tracie Mills.
Tracie, 52, and her Angels have raised around £85,000 to support local breast surgery clinics and have already provided 20 new chemo chairs at the Arden Centre through a series of community-based fundraisers. They also donated £30,000 to the new breast cancer centre at St Cross.
Other fundraising events have included skydives, head shaves, fancy dress pub crawls, monthly bingo and ‘I’m an Angel, Get Me Out Of Here’ challenge. The next event, planned for June, is Strictly Come Dancing.
Steve, 54, said: “It was a life-changing experience. Thoughts of Tracie and her charity kept me going.
“I’ve always wanted to fly an aircraft and this seemed like the perfect challenge.
He added: “I was more excited than nervous. Tracie is an amazing woman who has shown such bravery.”
The stunt took place at The Gliding Centre, Husbands Bosworth under the expert guidance of aerobatic stunt pilot Rob Barsby, team flight leader of Aerosparx.
It is a cause very close to the heart of the father of four who was diagnosed with muscle cancer in his 20s after the discovery of a soft part alveoli sarcoma in his right thigh during routine varicose vein surgery.
Steve said: “My varicose veins were removed plus the additional matchbox-sized tumour. Follow-up treatment consisted of further removal of surrounding thigh muscle and a course of radiotherapy.
“It was mentioned that I would have a remaining lifespan of approximately five years if the tumour was left untreated and a further option would’ve been amputation. I feel very lucky to still be here.”
Steve’s partner Lucie Green, also from Whitestone, was diagnosed with breast cancer just before Christmas and is about to undergo a course of radiotherapy. They have both received treatment at the Arden Centre.
In 2013 Tracie Mills was diagnosed with breast cancer and has since undergone intensive chemotherapy and a double mastectomy, treated at Rugby’s Hospital of St Cross and University Hospital in Coventry.
She said: “I am still here fighting the good fight for now. Some days are harder than others, supported by my wonderful wife and son and amazing friends, family and Arden Angels. I do not think there will ever be enough words for me to thank them all. I am truly grateful and will carry you all with me to the angels when my time comes. I’ll forever be humbled by people’s kindness. Every penny counts.”