- 62-year-old Patrick McIntosh set to cycle to Japan
- He is using the trip to raise awareness of cancer
It was on his hospital bed having just come round from an operation to remove his prostate that Patrick McIntosh decided he needed to dedicate the rest of his life to helping others just like him.
His prostate cancer had been preceded by bowel cancer in 2012 and he was also battling ongoing skin cancer. It proved to be the catalyst for a series of remarkable adventures.
“I remember lying in bed and thinking ‘why am I still alive? Why am I here?’” says McIntosh.
Some big questions, to which McIntosh found some answers in 2015 when he became the first triple cancer survivor to trek unsupported to the South Pole.
“It was the most horrible, ghastly undertaking,” says the father, husband and grandfather. “The worst thing anyone could do. Ever.”
“But I managed to achieve exactly what I wanted which is to raise awareness of early diagnosis, eating well and living an active life to help decrease the chances of cancer.
“That has now become my passion in life. I realised that if I could even help one person get diagnosed early that it would be worth it. Because the only reason I’m here is that I was diagnosed early on three occasions.”
And so, four years after that incredible trip, McIntosh is back with an equally extraordinary plan.
Twickenham to Tokyo
Leaving in May, the 62-year-old life-long rugby fan will set off from Twickenham on his bike and pedal 7,580 miles to Tokyo, arriving in time for the Opening Ceremony of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
His trip will involve travelling through Holland, Denmark, Sweden and then into Russia.
From that point he has 90 days to get himself from St Petersburg to the eastern port city of Vladivostok to avoid breaching his Russian visa.
He will travel along the Trans-Siberian railway, and face temperatures ranging from minus 40 at night to up to 40 degrees in the height of summer.
It is a terrifying feat but you get the sense that McIntosh is more than prepared.
He has been in training for months and is meticulous in his planning, a trait he says he picked up from the former SAS Officer Conrad Dickinson, who accompanied him on his arctic exploration.
The end goal will see McIntosh in Japan to watch England at the World Cup, something he is equally as passionate about.
“I played rugby as a youngster and have been an England fan my entire life.
“Rather bizarrely my first trip to Twickenham was with my father and Mick Jagger’s dad. We sat in the middle tier of the old west stand.
“Ever since then I have supported England all over the world. I was at the 2003 Rugby World Cup final when Johnny kicked that drop goal and I can’t wait to be there again.”
As well as his support of England, McIntosh has also been involved with helping develop junior rugby at Horley RFC and has been a debenture holder at Twickenham for over a decade.
The whole trip is expected to take 140 days and when asked what he will think about on those long and arduous days, McIntosh tells a story.
“When I was younger I sailed across the Atlantic with three other blokes. Since then, all four of us have had cancer at one time or another and three of us are still alive.
“I hope this trip can help save more people by making them aware, to get themselves checked and to live well.”