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MS Patient Walks 900 Miles in Memory of Childhood Sweetheart Who Died of Cancer

September 27, 2016

49-year-old Tony Hadfield, from Sheffield, is currently 9 weeks into the 900 mile walk, which will take him from John O’Groats to Land’s End in the UK. Even before his own diagnosis, Tony was no stranger to multiple sclerosis.

His brother David, who has been wheelchair-bound since 2001, was diagnosed with the disease at the age of 29. Then, last year, father-of-two Tony was diagnosed with the disease himself. After his brother’s MS diagnosis, Tony would regularly run marathons and half marathons to raise money for the MS Therapy Centre in South Yorkshire.

This is Tony’s first fundraising effort for the charity as a sufferer himself. Yet more poignant is the fact that Tony is carrying out the walk in memory of his late wife, Tina who died last year, 27 days after they had wed.

Tony had become single in 2013 when, after a pretty turbulent year in his private life, he and his first wife parted ways. ‘Things went from bad to worse at that time,’ Tony tells Metro.co.uk. ‘Not only was going through the divorce stressful, but the financial implications that go with it really took it out of me,’ he says. ‘I didn’t have a penny to my name.’

That same year, a friend put him back in touch with his childhood sweetheart, Tina, and they started dating straight away. ‘I knew Tina from pre-school and infant school, right through to secondary school, which was where I really started to fancy her. I knew her all my life and fancied her for most of it,’ he says.

Fortunately, Tina felt the same and, not long after they reunited, they were both madly in love. Sadly, not long after their happy reunion, Tina was diagnosed with bowel cancer.

Things started to look brighter though, as just a few months later after some chemotherapy and radiotherapy sessions, Tina got the all clear.

After receiving this news in May 2014, they decided to get engaged and they booked their wedding for June the following year.

However, just a few months later, Tina and Tony received the news nobody wants to hear.

Tina’s cancer had returned and the cancer had spread to her groin.

‘Tina had more chemotherapy and, although the consultant didn’t say it was terminal at the time, it was obvious from his words that there was little else they could do,’ he says.

Showing an enormous amount of determination throughout the months leading up to their wedding, Tina and Tony were eventually married on 13 June 2015 in a ceremony surrounded by their closest family and friends.

‘Just a few weeks later with Tony and her family by her side, Tina passed away on the 10 July, only 27 days after their wedding.

Tina died on 10 July, then just one month later on 10 August, Tony was diagnosed with primary progressive multiple sclerosis.

‘After Tina’s death, I didn’t think I could get any lower – but then came the news that I had MS.

‘My brother had had MS for 17 years so I was aware of the symptoms, but when I’d started to have balance issues, at first I just dismissed them as me being tired and worn out from everything that was happening in my life.

Tony, who began the walk in John O’Groats on 29 July and is now on the final stretch, says the place holds a special place in his heart. My feet are sore, swollen and blistered but I’m going to keep plodding on,’ he said. ‘I’ve been overwhelmed by the level of support on my journey.”

Tony is sharing the tales of his incredible determination through regular Facebook updates. If you can help him, join #TonysWobblyWalk on Facebook, or visit him at justgiving.com/Tony-Hadfield.