Cancer survivor retraces explorer’s footsteps

Epic Adventure: Patrick McIntosh en-route to the South Pole to show cancer can be conquered.
Epic Adventure: Patrick McIntosh en-route to the South Pole to show cancer can be conquered.

After beating three types of life-threatening cancer in a year, you would be forgiven for wanting to take it easy.

But not so for Patrick McIntosh, a grandfather of two, who has just completed a 222km charity trek to the South Pole.

“I feel absolutely like a million dollars,” he said shortly after reaching the South Pole on Saturday, the 103rd anniversary of Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s tragic 1912 expedition.

“For a 58-year-old man who has had three lots of cancer to be able to walk for 11 days, dragging a sledge, camping with no assistance whatsoever, and to turn up here feeling as good as I do is a remarkable achievement.”

The chartered financial adviser, from Surrey in England, took on the expedition having undergone treatment for bowel, skin and prostate cancer, all within 13 months.

Accompanied by Conrad Dickinson, the guide who last year took Prince Harry to the South Pole, McIntosh flew to Punta Arenas in Chile on December 29.

The two men were unsupported, meaning they carried all supplies and equipment themselves, in temperatures which plunged to minus 40°C.

After trekking for eight hours a day for 11 days, they reached the South Pole three days ahead of schedule.

“It is possible to live beyond cancer quite easily and I am the living example of that,” McIntosh said.

“I want to do a lot of lecturing and touring when I get home to explain that.”

In June 2012, McIntosh was diagnosed with bowel cancer. Doctors operated almost immediately. He thought he was cured, and seven months later scaled Kilimanjaro – taking less than three days to do so.

But then he was diagnosed with skin cancer, needing to have moles removed from his face, hands and back.

And in early 2013, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, which required a seven-hour operation.

None of the cancers was connected – it was all, his doctors said, bad luck.

His training included skiing more than 5km a night on a machine in his garage, hiking with a 14kg rucksack, and dragging tyres.

– Camilla Turner, The Telegraph

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