A WIGAN dad has come up with a poignant way of celebrating his 40th birthday.
Steve Martlew has been diagnosed with Myeloma, an incurable blood cancer, but is determined not to let it hold him back.
He has organised a day of fundraising tomorrow to raise money and awareness for the disease.
The father-of-four will be joined by hundreds of friends and family to walk four laps of the outfield at Wigan Cricket Club, the equivalent to one mile, to raise vital funds for Myeloma UK.
And when Steve turns 40 next month, instead of asking for presents, he wants donations to go to the charity.
Myeloma usually only affects the elderly so for Steve to be diagnosed while in his 30s is extremely rare.
He said: “It’s a very personal type of cancer. It affects every patient very differently. One of the white blood cells becomes deformed which can lead to problems such as kidney damage.
“I’ve been very lucky in the sense that my condition hasn’t deteriorated at the moment so I’ve not had treatment.
“But I’ve been extremely unlucky by the fact that the average age for sufferers of Myeloma is in the 70s.”
Steve came up with the idea of walking a “Mile of Myeloma”, an annual event recommended by the charity which usually takes place every May but he has brought it forward to co-incide with his birthday.
A lot of the walkers will be from Whelley Alexandra Junior football Club and Wigan Wizards junior cricket section where Steve is both secretary and coach.
Steve added: “The support from both clubs has been fantastic and I really appreciate it.
“There will also be people there from Wigan and Leigh Housing where I work – they’ve really supported me as well.
“I’m hoping it will be a good day and we can raise a lot of money for Myeloma UK.
“It really is a fantastic charity and has been superb to me since my diagnosis.”
The cricket club will also be open on the day and the start time for the walk is 12.30pm, enabling Latics fans to get to their game with Aston Villa in time.
For more information go to www.myeloma.org.uk or visit www.justgiving.com/Steven-Martlew to sponsor Steve.