Family celebrate milestone in rowing fundraiser prompted by shock diagnosis

The Wright family holding green and white charity balloons, celebrating

Chris Wright (42) with sons Patrick (nine) and Ben (seven), and wife Rebecca (41), getting to the 1,000km mark in their rowing challenge for MacMillan Cancer Support challenge - Credit: WRIGHT FAMILY

It began as a lockdown fitness challenge, but when a member of the Wright family received a shock cancer diagnosis, their rowing efforts quickly turned into a heartfelt charity fundraiser.

Chris Wright, 42, took on the challenge with wife Rebecca, 41, and their sons, Patrick, nine, and Ben, seven, after they could not visit his sister, Helen, in France because of coronavirus restrictions. 

The Wright family sitting on a wall in Blakeney

Chris Wright (42) with his sons Patrick (nine) and Ben (seven), and wife Rebecca (41), are doing a rowing challenge for MacMillan Cancer Support challenge, and here they are pictured in Blakeney - Credit: WRIGHT FAMILY

But intentions quickly changed when their mother, Sue Wright, 71, of Thornage, near Holt, was diagnosed with breast cancer. 

The headteacher, from Cranleigh, Surrey, said: "Our plans to go and see my sister's family were scuppered by the lockdown.  

"It had been quite some time since we'd visited, so naturally we were gutted, an emotion that prompted my wife, Rebecca, and I to rashly set ourselves a fitness goal during isolation - we would row there instead - or at least cover the 1,440km between Cranleigh and Valbonne on a rowing machine.  


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"But soon after this, we discovered my mum had been diagnosed with cancer."

Sue and David Wright on a beach

Sue Wright, 71, with her husband David, 70, before she was diagnosed with breast cancer in April 2020. - Credit: WRIGHT FAMILY

With the challenge taking on new meaning, they decided to raise money for MacMillan Cancer Support and complete the challenge in honour of Mrs Wright, who took up rowing herself less than a year ago. 

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Mr Wright added: "It's not the sort you can do from the comfort of your own home, as we have been, but the serious kind that involves boat preparation, travel, organising a team and then braving the weather conditions to take on Norfolk's finest waters, the Broads and the North Sea 

"Hopefully, once the chemo is all done, the lump has been jettisoned and she's got the all-clear, she can get back in a boat and help me row the last few kilometres."

The Wright family looking at the camera and smiling

Chris Wright (left) with his parents Sue and David Wright, and sister Helen (right) - Credit: WRIGHT FAMILY

Mrs Wright is currently being cared for by her husband, David Wright, 70, as well as the team at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital and Spire. So far, she has undergone chemotherapy, a lumpectomy, and radiotherapy.  

The family started the rowing challenge on May 10 and hope to complete it by December 31. They have already passed the 1,000km mark, raising just over £3,500. 

You can donate via the Just Giving Page.

The Wright family smiling on a beach

The Wright family are taking part in a rowing challenge for MacMillan Cancer Support - Credit: WRIGHT FAMILY

The Wright family sitting around a table, smiling, on holiday

The Wright family are taking part in a rowing challenge for MacMillan Cancer Support - Credit: WRIGHT FAMILY


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