16, 28, 33, 45, 47, 51, 53, 63, 88, the ages of all the people I know who have been affected by cancer, average age 47. I wish I could say I was good at maths to say I could have worked that out, but I'm not. 47 is the age my mum Kathleen Ann was when she died of breast cancer in 1996. Macmillan Cancer Support has been a part of my life now for the last 26 years and I am sure they will be for the rest of my life in some capacity.

I'm Phil Minns, fundraiser and volunteer ambassador for Macmillan. Over the last six years I have been on a mission to raise £47,000 to help Macmillan reach their aim; improve the lives of people living with cancer.

Over the last six years I’ve experienced some life changing opportunities I could never have imagined and met the most incredible and inspiring people with stories that will break and warm the heart in equal measure.

What was supposed to be a one off challenge to rehabilitate myself after knee surgery in 2008 has turned into a life-long ambition to dedicate my spare time to raise funds and awareness of this much needed charity that provides vital support and services to people affected by cancer.

With more and more friends, colleagues and family members being diagnosed with cancer I became increasingly aware of how important the support Macmillan provides is to people diagnosed with cancer and their friends and families, no matter what stage of their cancer journey.

After my first challenge and meeting so many inspirational people and hearing their stories, I returned to the UK; set a target to raise £20,000 by June 10 2016 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of mum dying; a large, but very achievable, amount. Much to my amazement this target was achieved on July 24 2012, four years ahead of schedule. This was the night before one of the incredible opportunities I have found myself in over the six years. I was very privileged and honoured to have been selected to be one of the 8,000 people to carry the Olympic Torch for London 2012 for my services as a volunteer with Macmillan Cancer Support.

Achieving this fundraising milestone made me realise again how many people cancer touches and how many people relay on the support and services that is funded 98% by voluntary donations. A vital support network that if all fundraising and donations stopped today, Macmillan would cease to exist within two months. This is due to the fact we use the money as and when it comes in, where and when people needed it, supporting and improving the lives of the 2.5 million people living with and beyond cancer in the UK today.

July 2012 saw the target raise to £47,000; again a target to commemorate the 20th anniversary of mum dying as this was her age on that fateful day.. Once again I was overwhelmed by the support and generosity of friends, family and strangers. This target was hit on May 22nd while holding a supermarket collection, a year before the target date. Now with 12 months to go I am raising my target to a phenomenal £60,000, an amount I could never have thought would be achievable back in 2008. Again a significant figure as mum would have been 60 in 2009 when I headed off for my first overseas challenge to trek the Inca Trail in Peru.

With a year to go before my target date I have set myself the most epic challenge I have embarked on over the entire six years; six challenges in twelve months, one for each year of this incredible journey, and one from each discipline from the challenge team. Run, Swim, Cycle, UK trek, moderate overseas trek, then the Extreme challenge of trekking to Everest Base Camp.

When I started out on this ambitious journey I had no idea that we as a family would be living with cancer again. A month after registering to take part in the six challenges in twelve months, on 23 December 2014 my dad Les (pictured with me above) was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer. We are in a position once again where we are utilising the services and support networks available to us from Macmillan Cancer Support. We are fortunate that we have a great support network amongst us as a family, unfortunately many people don't have this support and Macmillan currently reach three in every four people affected by cancer, we want and need to reach them all so they don't have to face this life changing disease alone. I hope that I can complete all these challenges remembering just my mum, and honouring my dad with every step and stroke.

If I have to end this epic journey remembering them both it will be a fitting tribute to two amazingly inspirational people that have shaped my life in so many ways.

If you’d like help Phil reach his target you can donate here: justgiving.com/6in12

You can share your #ReasontoSwim on social media for the chance to win a pack of Aqua Sphere products. Winners will be announced on 1 June.