Royal Wootton Bassett airman’s pledge to lifesavers

Airman Sgt Mark Gooding has pledged to raise £114,000 for a cancer charity – the same amount it spent on his treatment.

Two years ago, Sgt Gooding, 47, had almost given up on life after finding chemotherapy wearing.

But thanks to a bone marrow transplant, paid for by the Anthony Nolan Trust, he has now returned to work at RAF Brize Norton.

Sgt Gooding, who lives in Royal Wootton Bassett and has four children, is in full remission and will take on a parachute jump, wing walk and abseil to raise money.

He said: “The whole thing has given me a new outlook on life.

“There’s no reason now why I shouldn’t live a full life. I’m so grateful to the charity for helping me. I owe them everything.”

Sgt Gooding, of the RAF’s survival equipment training and standards department, was diagnosed with a blood cancer in 2008.

When his doctors told him he had high grade non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, he endured six-months of chemotherapy. In April 2010, tests showed the cancer had returned and he started treatment again. Then, six months later, a tumour was found in his abdomen.

He said: “At my lowest point during the chemotherapy I turned to my wife Mandy and told her that I couldn’t face it any more and I was going to take the palliative option – basically it was that bad that I chose to die.”

But then Sgt Gooding promised children Stephanie, 24, Anthony, 23, Amy, 19, and Kayleigh,15, he would do everything he could to beat the disease.

After an unsuccessful round of stem cell treatment using his own bone marrow, the trust found a healthy donor and saved his life.

Tickets for the parachute jump are £5 and can be bought by anyone aged 16 or over. Send cheques made out to Service Funds to: Free Fall Raffle, SES, RAF Brize Norton, Carterton, Oxon, OX18 3LX. To donate, visit justgiving.com

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