From fundraiser to patient to fundraiser - Malcolm’s Story

In 1982, Malcolm took part in an epic fundraiser for The Royal Marsden, but he never imagined that 38 years later, he would be back a patient himself on a clinical trial.

Malcolm Pearce at the beach with his dog
Malcolm Pearce, patient and fundraiser for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity

59-year-old Malcolm, a retired firefighter from Sutton, took on an epic fundraising challenge for The Royal Marsden in 1982 and never thought that 38 years later – he would end up back at the hospital as a patient himself on a clinical trial.

"I worked as a firefighter in the London Fire Brigade (LFB) for over 31 years. In 1982, we decided to do a fundraiser for The Royal Marsden as it was nearby. The Norwegian Embassy kindly donated us a Christmas tree which we pushed on a fire brigade ladder for 120 miles from Felixstowe all the way to The Royal Marsden in Sutton. It took four days and we raised £10K."

"I’ll never forget thinking wow – this hospital is amazing, it had a special aura. I would never have imagined that 38 years later I’d be back there as a patient myself!"

Malcolm's unexpected diagnosis

In 2019, Malcolm started to experience symptoms of back pain and needing the toilet more frequently. After further investigation he was diagnosed with stage 3 prostate cancer.  

“My whole world collapsed. There was no evidence of the cancer spreading to outside my prostate, but I was still very worried. My options for treatment were surgery or radiotherapy. I was able to speak to Professor Chris Parker, Consultant Clinical Oncologist at The Royal Marsden, about the radiotherapy option and whether I might be eligible for a clinical trial - ‘The DELINEATE Plus Nodes Trial.’ 

"Professor Parker was so calm and assured me that he thought he could treat me. I’ll never forget these words. I started hormone therapy and was referred to The Royal Marsden to join the trial.  

“Part of my treatment plan was the placement of three gold seeds in my prostate that directed where the treatment needed to go. The machine then lined up exactly in the right position to deliver a concentrated beam of radiotherapy to target the nodules of my tumour. I didn’t feel anything, and the treatment sessions didn’t last very long; I was even able to make special requests of music to listen to in the radiotherapy suite! 

Malcolm Pearce at the beach with his dog
Malcolm and his dog Patch taking part in the '60 Miles in November' challenge.

Fundraising for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity

Malcolm is now in remission, doing very well and recently took part in the 60 Miles in November virtual challenge to fundraise for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity. He’s also planning to take part in The Banham Marsden March this year with his wife Maria and their dog Patch. 

“This year will be the 40th anniversary of the Christmas tree push! I want to do anything I can to promote and support The Royal Marsden after what they did for me.” 

Join us

Want to take part in The Banham Marsden March like Malcolm?