Fighting cancer in the ring

John Quinnell in fighting mood
John Quinnell in fighting mood

A Rustington man whose father successfully fought several different types of cancer over many years knew exactly how to remember him.

John Quinnell felt several rounds in a boxing ring was nothing compared to what Terry went through before he died aged 78.

Terry Quinnell fought several different types of cancer

Terry Quinnell fought several different types of cancer

The 53-year-old recruitment consultant jumped at the chance to take part in an Ultra White Collar Boxing fundraising event at the Grand Hotel in Brighton last Saturday to help raise £8million for Cancer Research UK.

John, who has seven children, two stepchildren and seven grandchildren, was the oldest in his group.

He survived the three-round bout, watched by his proud wife, Sam, and many members of his extended family. Although he lost on points, he finished with as much fighting spirit as when he started.

John said: “I took a few punches but it was well worth it. It wasn’t about winning. It was about taking part.

“My dad had a horrible struggle with cancer. He faced a real battle. What I went through was minor in comparison.”

Terry was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1999 and was successfully treated before being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma several years later. He then faced very intensive chemotherapy treatment and again recovered.

Terry also survived skin cancer in 2004 and remained clear of cancer until June 2015, when his throat cancer returned. Just two days after his wife died from a heart attack, Terry faced major surgery to have the tumour and his larynx removed. He spent three months in hospital and died 11 months later, after the cancer spread to a lung.

John said: “The cancer specialists did everything they could to save my dad and I realised then life is too short. You never know what’s around the corner and I wanted to try to give something back by raising money for research while also motivating myself to get fitter.

“I was the oldest in my group but it’s never too late to change.”

John found the training hard but lost over a stone towards his target weight of 14.7 stone by going out running instead of sitting at his desk.

“It has been a very motivating and inspiring experience for me. There was a crowd of about 1,000 at the Grand. The atmosphere was electric.”

Ultra White Collar Boxing returns to Brighton on May 1, when more people can sign up to help in the fight against cancer.

The fundraising event gives ordinary people with no boxing experience the opportunity to train as a boxer for free in a safe and enjoyable environment.

After eight weeks training, people take part in a competitive three-round bout at a black tie event at The Grand Hotel, Brighton, on June 24.

Last year, around 14,000 people took the challenge, including 200 in Brighton.

Emma Hallas, for Cancer Research UK, said: “The amount of money raised by UWCB participants and their supporters is incredible - around £18,000 a day in March.

“While they’re out fighting in the ring our researchers are fighting cancer in the lab and working to find kinder treatments and a cure for this devastating disease.”

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