THE DUDLEY ambassador for a cancer charity enlisted the help of a special friend when he set out to show just what a positive attitude can do.
Halesowen was the scene of a world record as a former Commonweath discuss thrower showed positivity can not only move mountains, it can move two-tonne Land Rovers as well.
Halesowen Athletic & Cycling Club was the venue when Kevin Brown pulled the car 69 metres – a distance set bv the fact that his great friend, retired teacher Maxine Riley was 69 years old when she died of ovarian cancer.
Kevin pulled the 2.2 tonnes of a Land Rover Discovery – plus Maxine’s husband Richard at the wheel – in 45.58 seconds.
And it was the fact that it was on a sloping cycle track that it created the record
It also marked the launch of Richard’s book ‘Our Cancer Journey’, which charts the five and a half “remarkable years” that the couple spent together after Maxine’s diagnosis
Maxine — who taught at Birmingham’s Lee Bank Junior and Infant School and latterly at Turves Green Girls’ School — was given just two years to live, but went on to enjoy almost six before she died in February 2019.
“Her positive mental attitude made it so much easier to get through the situation for both of us, giving us so many happy experiences. It also meant that I didn’t really grieve with so many positive things coming out of this time,” says Richard, who has become an ambassador of the ovarian cancer charity Ovacome’s Midlands hub in Dudley.
“I hope that the book gives some inspiration for other people with cancer to continue living their lives, making memories and enjoying their time while they are still well enough,” says Richard, from Stoke Prior, who was married to Maxine for 43 and a half years.
“In the book there is lots of humour. I talk about how Maxine made cakes to take with her to the hospital and that the consultants would joke that they wouldn’t allow her to stop chemotherapy because they would miss her baking.
“Also, on our last Christmas day a friend tethered a hot air balloon in our garden to enjoy with friends and family with some champagne as Maxine was not feeling well enough for going out. She wasn’t prepared to lie down and feel ill and that Boxing Day she decided she wanted to go to friends for lunch as we have always done.”
It is this ‘can do’ attitude that the couple shared which initially inspired discus thrower Kevin Brown to compete at such a high level. Richard mentored him after meeting Kevin at the leisure centre attached to Small Heath secondary school and sixth form college where he taught PE.
“I helped Kevin believe in himself to become British discus champion and am so proud of what he has achieved. He is a super hero and did so well powering through even though he told me that his legs felt like jelly. He is proof that it is amazing what you can do if you believe,” says Richard.
● Richard is giving away the book for free but is asking for donations to split between the ovarian cancer charity Ovacome and the Primrose Hospice at Bromsgrove. To order your copy contact firstname.lastname@example.org