John Caine, part of the Great North Run's original organising team, is celebrating 20 years since his successful treatment for Stomach Cancer by taking on the legendary Camino di Santiago. He is taking on the epic challenge to raise for funds for the Northern Oesophago Gastric Cancer Fund.

John has been joined on his journey from France through Northern Spain by Great North Run Founder Brendan Foster and colleague, Eric Wilkins, as well as former Olympian Ian Stewart.

Their 500 mile journey is all in aid of an ambitious fundraising drive aiming to raise an incredible £50,000 to support the work of the Northern Oesophago Gastric Cancer Fund and the regional campaign - 'Oesophagoose' - to raise awareness of the early symptoms associated with this disease.

John explains, “Oesophageal (gullet) and gastric (stomach) cancer cases are increasing at an alarming rate. The number of those with the disease is growing faster than any other form of cancer. Sadly, the incidence in the North East of England is almost double the national average.

“I received the most thorough and carefully planned course of surgery and chemotherapy treatment in the Oesophago-Gastric Cancer Unit at the Newcastle RVI. Under the leadership of Professor Mike Griffin the unit has become the largest such specialist clinic in Europe and achieves successful outcomes for patients that rank amongst the best in the world.

“Even though Mike has recently retired, his team of experts on Ward 36 continue to research the causes and treatment of oesophageal and gastric cancers in order to further raise their success rates and help people like me.

“I shall forever be grateful to those wonderful people who took care of me in 1999. Without their expertise I would never have met any of my 6 grandchildren and I wouldn't be enjoying my active life today.”

John, Brendan, Eric and Ian are currently a week into their journey, you can find updates on their progress and make a donation at https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JohnCaine2