A MAN whose father died of cancer is competing in the world's largest triathlon to raise money for other sufferers of the disease.
Neil Fowler, an assistant physiotherapist at the Countess of Chester Hospital, will swim, run and cycle in the Michelob ULTRA London Triathlon for Leukaemia Research on Sunday.
The 33-year-old was inspired to help cancer patients after dad Michael died of blood cancer in November 2000 at the age of 53.
Neil said: 'This was a huge shock to our family - my father was a fit and healthy man. When he died I was determined that somehow something positive would come from my father's death and the experiences my family endured.
'My father has inspired me to raise funds for Leukaemia Re-search and its work to find a cure for the blood cancers. I hope that through my efforts I can help give a better chance to other patients like him.'
Former policeman Neil even changed jobs after his dad died and is currently training as a physiotherapist at the Countess so he can help other sufferers.
He has looked after patients with myeloma, leukaemia and other cancers.
'I spent eight years as a policeman but I always regretted not doing physiotherapy,' said Neil, from Stanney Oaks in Ellesmere Port. 'But after my dad died it gave me the motivation.'
It also gave him the inspiration to begin charity runs. Although he has completed the Great North Run twice, Neil was looking for a bigger challenge and has opted for the tough Olympian 1.5k swim, 40k cycle and 10k run.
Neil said: 'I've never been a great swimmer and after training, cycling is my strength. I'm just aiming to get round without stopping!'
Leukaemia Research's 'Banana Army' is the largest charity triathlon team and will line up on Sunday for the 10th annual competition.
Neil's training regime has also been fitted around the birth, last Wednesday, of his son, whom he has called Michael after his father.
Neil said: 'I'll do two 50-mile bike rides and a swim this week, then have a couple of days off before the competition. But I haven't slept much this week!'
Neil is hoping to raise £1,000 for Leukaemia Research. Anyone wishing to sponsor him can do so at www.justgiving.com/neilfowler
* The Michelob ULTRA London Triathlon starts at the Excel Centre at Docklands and this year marks the event's 10th anniversary.
Thousands of spectators line the course and, while some of the world's finest triathletes race in the elite section, more than £1m is raised for charity by competitors such as Neil.