Piano teacher's marathon challenge for charity that helped save his life

A piano teacher is taking on a marathon to fundraise for a charity that supports people with cancer.

David Battersby from Accrington is gearing up to participate in the Windermere Marathon on Saturday to raise funds for The Christie Charity. David, who now lives in South Cumbria, has a connection to The Christie since 2005 when he was diagnosed with refractory Acute Myeloid Leukaemia – a type of blood cancer that starts from young white blood cells in the bone marrow – and had the option of being treated there.

The 56-year-old said: “The Christie’s reputation made it an easy decision. I eventually needed to have a stem cell bone marrow transplant and underwent that in May 2006.

“Having been an inpatient at the hospital for over 18 months and then been there every day too for many additional months, as an outpatient I saw the work and dedication of every member of staff and the care and support that we all received was a very large piece of the jigsaw puzzle in my treatment and recovery.


“It wasn’t just me; my wife Rachel, her parents Gareth and Chris Ball, and my late mother, Margaret were all given tremendous support from The Christie. Having access to the latest treatments or trials and also things like the complementary therapies helped to keep me positive and keep me going during the long weeks in hospital.

“The chances of my making a long-term recovery were very small but as the days, months and eventually years went by, with the amazing care and help and guidance of everyone on the haematology unit, I am still here and living a full life!”

David wanted to give back to the hospital that played a pivotal role in his recovery. e has raised funds for The Christie Charity through various challenges, including the Yorkshire Three Peaks and, since lockdown, David has embraced running and participated in various trail races in the Lake District, including two half marathons.

Now, he is ready to tackle his first marathon – his biggest challenge to date. He said: “It felt only natural to me to go from half to a full marathon and it will be all on roads around Windermere that I am very familiar with.

“It’s also easy to get to and that it’s on a date that I can do without it affecting my music concerts and work commitments.

“Any money raised will go on to benefit patients and staff who are at The Christie hospital now. It played a huge role in my recovery, and my family and I hold the hospital and staff in the highest regard.

“It is part of who I am today.”

Alicia Gaffey, sporting events co-ordinator at The Christie Charity said: “David has been such a brilliant fundraiser for The Christie Charity in recent years. We wish him all the very best of luck with his biggest running challenge to date, the Windermere Marathon.”

The Christie Charity supports the work of The Christie NHS Foundation Trust providing enhanced services over and above what the NHS is able to fund.

This includes money for care and treatment, research, education, and extra patient services. Gifts from the public make a huge difference to the care and treatment that The Christie is able to provide to patients and their families.

To support the work of The Christie Charity, please go to Donate today christie.nhs.uk or ring 0161 446 3988.