Bideford cancer survivor John hosts fund raising night to give something back to the North Devon Chemotherapy Appeal.

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THE shears will be out on Saturday (February 2) as a Bideford man bids ‘good riddance’ to an impressive eight-month beard to raise money for the North Devon Chemotherapy Appeal.

Double cancer survivor John Ziepke knows better than most the need for a new chemotherapy unit in the region and is keen to support the appeal, starting with a sponsored hair and beard shave at Bideford Angling Club this Saturday.

John and his wife Malinda are hoping as many people as possible will go along to the club in Honestone Street from 7pm to support the event and help them towards their £1,000-plus target.

“Please do give generously, it is not about me, it’s about getting those funds for the new unit,” he said.

The club is kindly supplying the venue free and admission is £ 1 at the door, with proceeds to the appeal. There will be a buffet, raffle and a chance to boogie after Mike’s Disco also offered his services free of charge.

Then on March 9 John will be walking along the foreshore from Clovelly to Westward Ho! to raise more money and hopes as many as possible will join him.

John was diagnosed with the rare and fast-growing Burkett’s lymphoma in 1999, undergoing an intensive chemotherapy schedule in Barnstaple and Plymouth.

He had a Hickman line fitted and ended up in intensive care with a large blood clot. He was off work for a year and lost around five stone.

Then in 2011 he again contracted cancer; this time he had to travel to Exeter hospital once a week for chemo and every day for radiotherapy. Thankfully he is now in remission.

A dedicated chemo unit in Barnstaple will help patients to avoid that tiring schedule. John and Malinda are keen to make it a reality:

“It has been a very hard for John but he has bounced back. He still kept his enormous sense of humour and I as his wife feel very privileged to have met and married him. He is and always will be a wonderful man,” said Malinda.

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