Sports club’s charity spinathon after Norfolk family’s double cancer shock

The charity spinathon to raise cash for Thorpe St Andrew husband and wife, Jayne and Ian Lovewell, w

The charity spinathon to raise cash for Thorpe St Andrew husband and wife, Jayne and Ian Lovewell, who have both been diagnosed with terminal cancer.Photo by Simon Finlay. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

A Thorpe St Andrew family has been left devastated by the news that a husband and wife have both been diagnosed with terminal cancer within weeks of each other.

Ian Lovewell, 53, and Jayne, 50, and their three children have pledged to raise awareness of the disease following the double blow in the space of three months.

Dozens of fundraisers took part in a charity spinathon at a Thorpe St Andrew leisure centre at the weekend and raised more than £1,800 to help send the family on holiday.

Mr Lovewell had developed a cough in January and was initially treated for pneumonia. But a string of medical appointments found this was lung cancer, which had spread to his brain and liver.

His wife began to feel unwell in March and put it down to the stress of her husband's ordeal, but was herself diagnosed with terminal lung and pancreatic cancer after several trips to the hospital.

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Their eldest daughter Hanna, 28, said both her parents were non-smokers, did not drink and led healthy lives.

Mr Lovewell, of Paine Road, works at Britvic and Mrs Lovewell is function manager at The Cottage pub in Thunder Lane.

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Hanna said the tragic news has knocked everyone for six, not least her brothers Mitchell, 12, and Ross, 25.

'It's been tough,' she said. 'It's not very often you will hear someone say both your parents are suffering at the same time.

'We're just waiting to see what her treatment will be.'

She said her dad had been given a year but hoped it would be longer, and they are waiting for results for her mum.

While they have had to cancel a holiday to Ibiza they are planning a short break in the UK instead, and are determined to live life to the full.

Cancer charity Macmillan is supporting the family, and a relative has reduced her working hours to part-time so she can stay with the family - and make plans to look after Mitchell, who is a student at Open Academy in Salhouse Road.

'Their attitude is they will battle it and we all will,' said Hanna. 'We try to stay positive as we have to, and stay strong to make the most of the time we have got.

'We will do everything we can to enjoy everything. It just gives you a totally different outlook on everything. Petty things seem meaningless.'

She hopes to raise awareness of the deadly disease - which can strike people of any age no matter what their state of health - and is raising money for the Mulbarton ward at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

Friends organised a charity spinathon on Saturday at the Oasis Sports and Leisure Club in Thorpe St Andrew to help pay for a holiday for the family with some participants taking part in the whole nine hours.

'It's been amazing,' said Hanna. 'People don't know what to say in this situation, so having the spinathon was just a way for people to show their support and show it can happen to anyone at any time. Up until now we had been lucky enough not to have it in my family, and you do just think it won't happen to you or anyone you know. They are still young and very healthy. It doesn't matter how old you are or your lifestyle.'

She hailed the 'amazing' support they had received and urged people to donate to the Mulbarton ward at the N&N.

Suzie Little, general manager of Oasis, said the club organised the event in the space of a week.

'Hanna has worked for us for a long time and it was such a shock that they were diagnosed within weeks. We want them to have as much quality time together as possible,' she said.

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