ALMOST everyone knows someone whose life has been touched by the scourge of cancer in some way.

It is something Tom Stephens, who tragically lost both his parents to the same form of the disease, knows better than most.

Determined to support the search for new treatments, the 34-year-old organised a fitness challenge for Cancer Research UK.

The event, at Future Fitness, in Farnworth, saw eight teams from around the borough and beyond take on the challenge of lifting 1,000 tonnes over two days.

But the six-strong teams went one better by lifting more than 1,500 tonnes

A pot of £2,500 will now be split between Cancer Research UK and The Christie cancer centre, in Manchester.

Tom, who lives in Farnworth, says his own experiences of losing loved ones to cancer were the driving force behind the event.

The dad-of-two said: “My mum and dad both died of cancer.I thought we would use the gym, get people down and get some money together.

“They were both in their early 50s and died from the same cancer – oesophagal cancer – and I just wanted to do my bit.

“My mum passed away 10 years ago and my dad passed away five years ago, both had oesophagal cancer, and both were exactly the same age when they died – 55.

“It is emotional for me. Everyone has some kind of dealings with cancer, but I’m happy with what we have raised.”

Tom was delighted with the amount raised – both in terms of cash and weight.

The steel fitter, who grew up in Breightmet, added: “It was really good, it ended up being 48 people over eight hours instead of 10, as two teams weren’t able to make it.

But we have done really well. I feel massively happy, I thought we would just break even and do 1,000 tonnes, but we’ve done 500 more with fewer people.”

Gym members from Horwich, Radcliffe, Breightmet and Atherton also took part.

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