Former Royal Marine from Horsford takes on charity challenge after cancer battle

Tommy Sharpe and Prince Harry

Tommy Sharpe and Prince Harry - Credit: Archant

A former Royal Marine who survived a battle with cancer is taking on a gruelling charity challenge to support other veterans.

Tommy Sharpe and his mum Mandy Sharpe

Tommy Sharpe and his mum Mandy Sharpe - Credit: Archant

Tommy Sharpe, 34 of Horsford, was diagnosed with advanced blood cancer after he noticed something was wrong while on a tour of Afghanistan in 2011.

He was given a year to live if the treatment did not work.

Mr Sharpe defied the odds, making a remarkable recovery and winning silver in the 1,500 metres at the Invictus Games while still in remission.

Now he is going to walk 100k with his mother, who supported him throughout his treatment and recovery, to raise money for Blind Veterans UK.

'My mum was a great source of support during this difficult time and we fought my disease together,' said Mr Sharpe. 'We'll now take on this challenge together for Blind Veterans UK.'

Mr Sharpe joined the Royal Marines in 2002 and joined 40 Commando based in Taunton.

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He later joined Commando Logistic Regiment and went to Afghanistan with Operation Herrick V.

In 2007 he joined Heavy Weapons and Air Defence and was attached to 30 Commando, which took him to Iraq and Afghanistan on operational tours.

While serving in Afghanistan in 2011, he suspected there was something wrong.

After several months of testing and insecurity, he was diagnosed with stage 4b blood cancer which had spread.

He received chemotherapy every two weeks for six months while staying with his parents in Horsford.

'I wanted to stay alive and stay in the Marines when I got better,' he said. 'To keep my basic fitness, my mum and I went for long walks where we chatted about life.'

Mr Sharpe made a miraculous recovery and went on to participate in the first Invictus Games in 2014 in the 1,500 metres open class while he was in remission.

The Invictus Games is an international Paralympic-style event in which wounded, injured or sick armed services personnel and veterans take part in sports including wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball and indoor rowing.

He came in second place and was awarded a silver medal for his efforts from Prince Harry.

'During my recovery I met many inspiring veterans and now I want to give something back to veterans who have to live for the rest of their lives with their sight loss through Blind Veterans UK,' he said.

Mr Sharpe is currently at college in Bristol and hopes to start a social work course at UEA in September.

The 100k challenge from London to Brighton will kick off on Saturday, July 2.

It is Blind Veterans UK's biggest annual fundraiser, to sign up see blindveterans.org.uk/100k

To support Mr Sharpe and his mother Mandy, see justgiving.com/teams/hogandsprogcharitywalk

Do you have a Norwich story? Email samuel.russell@Archant.co.uk

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