Some people push their boundaries for the feeling of it. Some people push their boundaries for personal gratification or financial reward. For material things. Some people, however, push the boundaries for completely different reasons. For a cause. For love. For remembrance.
Dean Walsh was 16 when his mum, Linda Anne, passed away from cancer in 1998. Twenty years have passed since that fateful day, twenty years in which Dean has become a man, got married and built a career as an integral member of Sahara Force India’s accounts team. Losing his mum in his teenage years left an indelible mark on him, but he didn’t give in to despair. He chose hope instead. And by pushing his boundaries, he chose to help others.
Dean will be putting himself and his body to the test in 2018. To mark 20 years since the passing away of his mother, our team-mate will complete 20 gruelling events this year while raising funds for Breast Cancer Care, the team’s charity partner.
“My mum suffered with cancer for over ten years in total, but it all started with breast cancer so I thought this would be the best place to start – back to where it all began,” said Dean. “I want to make even a tiny bit of difference to other cancer sufferers out there by raising as much money as possible throughout the year. I wanted to do something that pushed my boundaries. I am by no means built like an athlete and whatever I do takes a lot of sweat, pain and hard work, but compared to what people affected by cancer have to go through, a little bit of pain on the way is nothing. It’s the least I could do.”
Dean started his efforts in January, running 10 miles every day for a week. In February, despite the dreadful weather gripping the country, he completed a 50-mile ultramarathon from Oxford to Henley. March saw him compete in a half marathon in London, before the challenge of two marathons in eight days – tackling Brighton and London in April.
“I came up with the idea for Deanos20for20 around two years ago. At the time I wasn’t sure it’d even happen but here we are in 2018 and already three events in,” he explains. “If even one extra person who follows my efforts goes and gets checked for breast cancer, then I am doing something right.”
Dean’s feat will help raise awareness and funds for Breast Cancer Care as part of the team’s efforts to reach out to more people suffering with cancer, faster. Last year, the team raised more than £100,000 with an aim to raise a £250,000 total before the end of 2019 - a worthy cause for a charity that helps more and more women and men each day.
“My mum was an incredible lady and is the single most important person I’ve ever had in my life, even though she was taken away from me so early. She’s my inspiration in pretty much everything I do,” says Dean.
The torch of inspiration clearly passed down to the new generation…