A local man has gone Dutch to raise money for a leading mouth cancer charity. For 25 year-old William Howes from Howden, the Amsterdam Marathon on Sunday 20 October is a chance to raise valuable awareness and funds for Mouth Cancer Action Month, after the disease claimed the life of his uncle in May this year.
The gruelling 26.2 mile course will start and finish in Amsterdam's Olympic Stadium. Having previously run the Istanbul Marathon last November, William is ‘training hard and preparing well' for this year's event against the backdrop of a difficult year.
Mouth cancer campaigners the British Dental Health Foundation raise awareness of the disease through Mouth Cancer Action Month, taking place throughout November. With cases increasing annually, William's experience is becoming all too frequent.
William said: "My uncle was diagnosed with mouth cancer in January, and it was a bit of a shock as I hadn't heard of the disease. When he passed away in May he had almost finished the course of his treatment and was showing some signs of progression. So when I decided to sign up for the marathon, choosing to support mouth cancer was simple.
"Mouth Cancer Action Month is a charity my whole family supports. I am a prime example of the thousands of people unaware of the disease, let alone the risks associated with it. By running the marathon and supporting the charity, hopefully more people will become aware before it's too late."
Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, said: "I think it's a fantastic gesture on William's behalf to support Mouth Cancer Action Month. I speak on behalf of the Foundation when I wish him the very best of luck with his training and on the day itself.
"Cases of the disease are increasing, yet awareness doesn't seem to be following. Early detection is so important with mouth cancer. If caught early survival rates are almost 90 per cent. Without it they tumble to 50 per cent. Through greater awareness of the risk factors, which include smoking, drinking alcohol to excess, the human papillomavirus (HPV) and poor diet, more people will hopefully take action.
"If you notice an ulcer that does not heal within three weeks, red and white patches and unusual lumps or swellings in the mouth our advice is clear. If in doubt, get checked out."
If you would like to donate please visit his official fundraising page.