News - 3rd February 2023
Bill Roffey 1

After diagnosis and treatment for a rare blood cancer, regular parkrunner, Bill Roffey, set his sights firmly on returning to Bramhall parkrun. He is now about to achieving some well-deserved, chunky milestones.


When the Coronavirus pandemic hit in 2020, I was already a parkrun addict having clocked up over 200 parkruns since first attending in 2009. I really enjoy the camaraderie at the events and support of my fellow parkrunners.


Bill Roffey 5


I kept up my exercise during the early lockdowns and waited for parkrun to be able to return.


In the autumn of 2020, I started to experience back pain. After many visits to the doctor and scans I was rushed into The Christie Hospital in Manchester suffering from a rare blood cancer called Myeloma. The illness had caused multiple mini spinal fractures which were causing the pain I was experiencing.


Whilst lying perfectly still, to allow my back to begin healing, I got talking to my carer, Barry. It turned out he was a fellow parkrunner from my home event at Bramhall Park in Stockport. I didn’t know him, but recognised his name. I told him I was determined to get back to parkrun and I’d see him there. I’m very pleased to say I did!


Having a focus was key in my thinking post illness. After a stem cell transplant, chemotherapy, and a hospital stay, I returned to Bramhall parkrun in August 2021. I walked round at the back wearing a back brace.


Since then, I have got much stronger and progressively quicker thanks to the wonderful care provided by The Christie and the support of fellow parkrunners, friends and family (thank you Sam Slough my nephew and Clive Mitchell my cousin as featured in the photos). I’m also enjoying more volunteering now including tail walking, writing run reports and marshalling around the course.


Bill Roffey 3


Post illness I am reaping the benefits to my physical and mental health that parkrun has always provided. However, my goals are different.


It is no longer a case of trying to better last week’s time or to achieve under 25 minutes again, but rather about finishing successfully, staying on my feet, enjoying the exercise and trying to run it all. My home course is hilly and I don’t feel I have underachieved in the slightest if I walk some of it, but the competitor in me would like to run it all again!


My hopes now are to stay healthy, to keep turning up to parkrun and to keep the legs moving! The hospital tell me keeping fit and active is important, so I intend to do just that. My strength and stamina aren’t quite what they were, although still improving, but it just means I go slower, not that I can’t take part.


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I’m now looking forwards to achieving my 250 parkruns and 100 volunteer milestones in February.


I needed to have some goals after my illness, and focusing on getting back to parkrun was one of them. I would encourage anyone who has had a setback medically to set some achievable goals, be it running based or anything else, to help them on the next step on their journey through life.


Thank you parkrun for the big part you played in my ongoing recovery.


Bill Roffey

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