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Husband’s 12 hour ping-pong challenge for hospital helping wife through cancer battle

PUBLISHED: 19:00 29 April 2020 | UPDATED: 11:10 30 April 2020

Paul Dixon is completing the ping pong challenge in his Martlesham garden to raise money for the cancer team at Ipswich Hospital who have supported his wife Cathy  Picture: SHANE DIXON

Paul Dixon is completing the ping pong challenge in his Martlesham garden to raise money for the cancer team at Ipswich Hospital who have supported his wife Cathy Picture: SHANE DIXON

SCOTT DIXON

A 68-year-old man is taking on a 12 hour ping-pong challenge during lockdown to raise thousands of pounds for Ipswich Hospital, where his wife is receiving care for terminal cancer.

Paul Dixon, 68, is taking on the 12 hour challenge to raise money for the cancer ward at Ipswich Hospital, with just five minutes of rest per hour. Picture: SHANE DIXONPaul Dixon, 68, is taking on the 12 hour challenge to raise money for the cancer ward at Ipswich Hospital, with just five minutes of rest per hour. Picture: SHANE DIXON

Paul Dixon, who has been married to wife Cathy for more than 46 years, has set himself the unusual task “as a thank you” to the cancer team who have supported Cathy over the years.

Mr Dixon, who is semi-retired and works as an electrician, will attempt the solo ping pong challenge from 8am to 8pm on Saturday, May 9, in his back garden in Martlesham, with just a five-minute break every hour.

The grandfather, who has always been on his feet and enjoyed many years of football, said he wanted to do something unique and had always loved the sport since playing at a youth club in his teenage years.

He said: “If I could help deliver food and things in this present climate then I would, but we are in 12 week lockdown as Cathy is classed as high risk, so this is something I can do in my garden and help raise money.

Paul Dixon, 68, is taking on the 12 hour challenge to raise money for the cancer ward at Ipswich Hospital, who have cared for his wife Cathy. Picture: SHANE DIXONPaul Dixon, 68, is taking on the 12 hour challenge to raise money for the cancer ward at Ipswich Hospital, who have cared for his wife Cathy. Picture: SHANE DIXON

“The hospital staff are incredible and are with you 100% of the way, so if the money I raise is used for research and it helps someone suffering then that is amazing.”

Mrs Dixon, 66, was diagnosed with breast cancer seven years ago, undergoing a range of treatment including a mastectomy and rounds of chemotherapy.

18 months ago, the cancer returned in her bones and she has since been told the disease is not curable.

She said: “Obviously it was a shock getting the diagnosis and it has been difficult, but I think I am coping quite well, but being in lockdown doesn’t help.”

Paul Dixon, who is taking on the 12 hour challenge, with his wife Cathy who has received years of cancer treatement at Ipswich Hospital. Picture: SHANE DIXONPaul Dixon, who is taking on the 12 hour challenge, with his wife Cathy who has received years of cancer treatement at Ipswich Hospital. Picture: SHANE DIXON

Mrs Dixon has not been given a prognosis yet, and says she is missing her grandchildren and the rest of her family, who they try to keep in contact with via video calls.

She said she cannot fault the staff at Ipswich Hospital and the care she has received has been incredible.

“It was all Paul’s idea,” she said. “Charities are really struggling at the moment and we want to say thank you and help where we can.”

Mr Dixon added: “Cathy’s ongoing treatment at Ipswich Hospital, in the cancer ward has been excellent.

Paul Dixon wanted to help raise money whilst in lockdown, so set up the table tennis challenge in his garden in Martlesham. Picture: SHANE DIXONPaul Dixon wanted to help raise money whilst in lockdown, so set up the table tennis challenge in his garden in Martlesham. Picture: SHANE DIXON

“In what is a very difficult process and stage of Cathy’s life these workers continue to support her, they continue to treat her, and she has got to know some of them very well indeed.

“They and through a circumstance are seen as a friend, they are always very supportive and nothing is ever a problem to them.”

Mr Dixon says the hourly five minute breaks during the ping-pong challenge will give him the chance to have a cup of tea and a stretch. He hopes his music will keep him going and help him reach the 12 hour goal.

So far, Mr Dixon’s fundraising page has exceeded expectations, generating more than £1,600 for the cancer ward at Colchester and Ipswich Hospitals Charity.

If you would like to support Mr Dixon with his fundraiser, then please do so here.


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