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It's just deserts for West Norfolk author Jon Lawrence as he tackles 500k challenge - Sahara is next in his mammoth charity hike

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A grieving son is taking on not one but five gruelling challenges to raise money for a specialist cancer charity.

Jon Lawrence to trek 500-kilometres over five deserts (3691617)
Jon Lawrence to trek 500-kilometres over five deserts (3691617)

Author Jon Lawrence plans to trek five deserts over five continents in memory of his dad Graham to raise money for The Big C – a charity which offers support to children with cancer.

He has already completed one of the five – a 100km hike across the Atacama desert of Chile in South America, the world’s highest and driest desert.

And he is now preparing for the second challenge to walk 100km across the world’s most famous desert – The Sahara – and will be flying out to Morocco in six weeks’ time.

Jon has already beaten his £1,000 fundraising target but is looking for corporate sponsorship to help him complete the final three treks, which will see him tackle The Wadi Rum in Jordan, the Western Desert in Australia and the Mojave in America.

Jon said: “The first two treks have been booked and I am in the process of searching for corporate sponsorship to help finance the last three.

“I do not know how to convince you that you should support this challenge when there are so many worthy causes fighting for scraps of generosity these days.

“All I would ask is you close your eyes for a second and imagine how your child might cope with cancer, a disease that so many of us will have experience of. Then, I would ask who you would want to help you support them. I am sure it would be The Big C.”

Jon’s father died of the disease last year just a month after he was diagnosed.

He said: “It started in his lungs then spread to his bones and lymph nodes. He died barely a month after his diagnosis. He was a wonderful man, the best of men.”

Jon, of Walpole Cross Keys, pays tribute to his father and talks about their relationship. He also talks about how, when the end was near, he was the one to break the news.

On his JustGiving page he writes: “He had a scan and it was confirmed that there was a mass on one of his lungs. When the doctor showed me, it was clear from his expression that this was almost certainly beyond treatment.

“The doctor said he would speak to my father, but I suggested it would be better if the news came from me.

“But how do you tell someone that they only have a couple of months to live? How do you tell that to your father? Someone you love.

“I have made much of my living from words and language. However, there are times in our lives when language will fail and all we have left is the touch of a hand, an embrace or a kiss. I told him straight.

“The day he died I arrived to see him sat in his chair. He told me he needed the nurse (all of whom were wonderful). Two hours later he was sleeping. I sat with him for a while, holding his hand, but something felt different. I could not, and still cannot, explain it, but I felt as though I could sense the life seeping away from him.

“Dad was surrounded by his family when he passed away. It was the way things should have been. I never wanted to lose him, of course I didn’t, but I am so grateful to have been there to see him off on his next adventure.”

To sponsor Jon go to: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/iwouldwalk500k

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