“It was a pretty crazy two weeks”, remembers Piers Hollier.
Rachel, Piers’ wife, had been trying to do some running but couldn’t manage more than a couple of miles. During a routine health assessment she mentioned it to the doctor, who referred her to specialist sports doctor. This was followed by an MRI which revealed a large mass deep in the tissue, what Piers describes as “a lump the size of a man’s fist”.
It was diagnosed immediately as a sarcoma and what followed was two weeks of further tests and investigations. "At the end of which we saw the specialist on Friday and was booked in for surgery the following Monday".
“It was also an amazing couple of weeks”, says Piers, who is running the Virgin Money London Marathon with #TeamSarcoma. “As a couple we were together all the time, something we haven't managed for years.”
Piers and Rachel have two children, six and nine. The couple were open with the children as to what was happening and “didn’t create a drama”. “We chose to focus on what we had to do next - to break things down into practical tasks.”
While no stranger to running, the London will be Piers’ first marathon . He wants to use his run to get two messages out about sarcoma. “If something doesn’t feel right in your body, see a doctor. You could feel like you’re in perfectly good health, but, like Rachel, it could be something more serious”.
Rachel’s surgery was successful and, apart from scheduling in quarterly scans, life is back to normal.
His second piece of advice is not to panic if you hear the word ‘cancer’. “This isn’t unique to sarcoma”, Piers says. “More people than ever are surviving cancer. Stay positive, focus on each step at a time and, if you can, have a laugh.”
Last year, the London Marathon runners of #TeamSarcoma raised over £141,000. This transformative amount has already been invested in groundbreaking research, prompt support and clear information for people affected by sarcoma.