Boyan, 52, says: “Ten years ago, I’d never really heard of pancreatic cancer, but there have been so many people I care about either lost to this cancer, or impacted by it.
“Pancreatic cancer has taken a terrible toll on my wife’s family, with her aunt, mother and father all dying from this cancer. Then my best friend – my best man when I married Jessica – lost his dad to pancreatic cancer. More recently, a work colleague’s husband was diagnosed. He was the same age as me. It was terribly difficult to try and be positive for them, after seeing so many others lose their lives.”
A further trigger for Boyan’s challenge was his own bladder cancer diagnosis, for which thankfully, he is now in remission. He says: “I was terrified for me and my family in the weeks between the diagnosis, the surgery to remove the tumour and the follow-up test results. And yet I knew the doctors were confident, and I had all the statistics to tell me that this was a cancer with a strong likelihood of survival. I had genuine hope.
“When I was told that I was cancer-free, the incredible joy and utter relief became a double-edged sword, as it made me think what it must have been like for those facing a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, with such a poor prognosis. This has been my motivation to do something positive.”
A keen walker and wild camper, Boyan has mapped a 36-mile (58km) route across and around the edges of the stunning countryside by the Chilterns, near his home. The challenge will take roughly 17 hours and he hopes to be treated to both a beautiful sunrise and sunset on one of the longest days of the year.
Friends and family will join Boyan for parts of the route, which he mapped out specifically to be less hilly than it could have been. “I wanted to make sure that it was as accessible and inclusive as possible for anyone who wants to join me,” he explains, “and my wife Jessica will be ferrying various friends to designated pick up points along the way. I’m hoping to meet and chat to plenty of other walkers, and will be handing out leaflets about pancreatic cancer as we go.”
Boyan has already surpassed his £1000 target for PCRF via his JustGiving page and hopes the total will rise still higher.