Gulf War veteran with cancer to sail around Britain in honour of daughter
- Credit: Emma Kindred/@eightyone
An Ipswich war veteran, who tragically lost his daughter to cancer, will be sailing around Britain in aid of those who looked after her as he continues his own cancer treatment.
Olle Nash was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2019, after an operation to remove part of his large intestine in 2018 after a rare condition Extra-Mammary Paget’s Disease uncovered a tumour.
He was told he would have to have chemotherapy treatment every two weeks for the rest of his life to keep the cancer at bay
He said: "There was a sense of denial at first, because I hardly ever get ill – it’s not me – but I wasn’t upset, because there wasn’t much point.
"It was just another obstacle in life and I had no choice but to get on with it.”
That wasn't the first time the 63-year-old had to come to terms with a difficult diagnosis, as his daughter Toni lost her battle with pancreatic cancer in 2017 and was supported by Macmillan nurses through the final months of her life.
The Gulf War veteran and former IT security manager said he and the family were at a total loss when Toni was first told about her cancer and didn't know where to turn.
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"The Macmillan information manager at Ipswich Hospital was just so lovely, every time myself or my other daughters walked in she was there with open arms and a big cuddle," he said.
“I can’t praise the people there highly enough – we got to know them very well, to the point they became like an extended family, so I was already aware of the services available once I was diagnosed.
“It also means a lot that some of the nurses who’ve treated and cared for me are the same as those who treated Toni — how can I ever thank Macmillan for what they’ve done for my daughter and what they’ve done for me and my family?”
To fundraise for the charity, Olle will be spending four months sailing around Britain in his boat Renegade and plans to weigh anchor on May 23 from Fox's Marina.
Forever dependent on a colostomy bag — which the family have named Boris— he will leave the River Orwell at Harwich for the North Sea and substitute intravenous chemotherapy treatment for tablet-based medication during his trip.
However, the reality of living with cancer means he will also have to return to Ipswich just three weeks into his journey to undergo a five-week cycle of intensive radiotherapy treatment.
Olle formed his love for sailing as a boy on the River Deben and added: “When I was first diagnosed with cancer, I didn’t ask those awkward questions like ‘what does this mean for my life?'
"I just wanted to get on with it, but I did think that perhaps I wouldn’t always be as fit as I am now, so if there were things I wanted to do, I should do them.
"I’d been hoping to spend my retirement sailing all over the place, so I combined this ambition with my fundraising.”
- May 22: Symbolic departure from Fox’s Marina, preceded by launch party and dressing of boat. Will dock overnight in River Orwell.
- May 23: Leaves River Orwell for the North Sea, beginning anti-clockwise route around Britain.
- June 14: Olle leaves his boat in Scotland and returns to Ipswich Hospital for scan and five weeks of intensive radiotherapy and recovery. He’ll then pick up where he left off when he is able.
- End of August/early September: Olle returns to Ipswich.