Grateful Gary takes on triple triathlon
On the anniversary of his second stem-cell transplant, 66-year-old Gary Bray from Bridestowe, Dartmoor, is set to undertake a mammoth challenge in the form of an indoor triple triathlon. He will be swimming 1500 metres, followed by a cycle of 40 kilometres and rowing a further 10 kilometres. As if that isn’t quite enough, he will repeat that for the next two days, totalling three triathlons in as many days- covering a distance equivalent to that of a journey from Plymouth to Weston-Super-Mare. This will all be whilst raising money for three charities that are close to his heart; Plymouth Hospitals Charity, Anthony Nolan Charity and the Hearts Together Charity. Without the help of these three, he believes he wouldn’t be here to share his story.
Gary, an army veteran has admitted that despite his service in the army for 22-years, the training for the triathlon has been his hardest challenge to date. He explains, “What I do know is that I need to make a difference for future cancer patients. I feel like I have a duty to make their journey and that of their families an easier one. I can only say thank-you to the institutions that saved me. But it seems inadequate. So I am on a mission to raise as much as I can to help these charities to continue the work they do and to help others.”
Corinne Bailey, Plymouth Hospitals Charity Manager said, "even attempting one event is mind-blowing but to do three is incredible. We wish Gary the very best and are so grateful to be one of his chosen charities".
This remarkable man has been inspired by the extraordinary care he received whilst going through gruelling treatment for stage three lymphoma , a cancer of the blood, twice in the last seven years.
“It may seem, dramatic but, I have so many people to thank, because without them I would not be able to tell my story. There is an unknown man who, without the Anthony Nolan Charity, would not have donated his stem cells to me. There are the nurses, doctors, health care assistants, and all other members of fantastic staff at the Bracken ward and Birch Day Care Unit at University Hospitals Plymouth, who without their devotion, professionalism and encouragement I would have not made it through the treatment. Lastly, but by no means least, there is the team at Hearts Together, who helped me recover and adapt back to my new life. I can truly say that nothing was too much for these teams.”
Gary now proudly celebrates three birthdays. “I fondly remember John, the nurse, defrosting the stem-cells on 2nd July 2015 and stating, ‘Gary, today is your Birthday’. The same happened when my second stem-cells were being defrosted on 19th February 2020. They were right and I now celebrate the days as my new beginning and the start of my fight back.”
To watch Gary’s interview, please visit this link:
For more information about Gary’s story and how to support him, please visit this page:
If you would like to fundraise or to find out more about how Plymouth Hospitals Charity is supporting your local hospital, please visit www.plymouthhospitalscharity.co.uk