Man says no cancer treatment, hops on a bike instead

A cyclist from Yorkshire England has spent 19 months travelling 34,000 kilometers over four continents and 32 countries. All he wants to do is spread his message.
Derek Boocock from Yorkshire England poses with CBC Information Radio host Marcy Markusa. (Donna Carreiro/CBC)

Derek Boocock has lived with cancer most of his life, ever since he was diagnosed with it when he was just a child. The Yorkshire, England man has since grown up to lose loved ones to cancer, including his wife.

Whatever your illness, whatever your ailment, don't sit back and let life pass you by.- Derek Boocock

Two years ago, he was diagnosed with lung cancer for the second time. So he sold all his worldly goods, hopped on a bicycle, and has been pedalling around the world ever since.

Boocock has ridden just over 34,000 kilometres. He started his journey in Europe, then headed down to Africa. He's been through Asia, and now he's in North America. 

"My doctor called me and told me my cancer had returned," he explained. "It was initially prostate cancer and it returned again to my lungs. So I told him I wasn't going to bother with treatment this time."

They both knew that nothing would stop the cancer that had ravaged his family and now his own body. 

"It was an easy decision to make," he stated. "The most remarkable thing was that after the death of my wife in 2009, I had fallen into depression and that depression lifted immediately upon given the news that I had terminal cancer."

He says it gave him a focus. 

"I knew what I was going to do. I was going to make the most of the time I had left." 

Boocock spent time here in Winnipeg with someone who also has cancer. He says when he started his journey it was a personal battle but that it's become much more than that.

"I'm now part of a network where I think I'm doing good. I think I'm helping other people and showing that you don't have to accept what the doctors say," he reflected. "You don't have to sit on the couch and wait for the illness to take over. Go out there and make the most of the time you have."

Doctors have told him that his high level of fitness has helped him stay alive as long as he has. He says it's his will, his stubbornness that spurs him on. 

"Impossible for me is possible, if you believe."

Boocock's goal isn't to raise money. He says he did that when his wife was ill. This time, he has a simple message. 

"Enjoy the time that you're given. Whatever your illness, whatever your ailment, don't sit back and let life pass you by. It's a wonderful world out there," he maintained. "Go and explore it. You don't have to ride a bike but make the most of the time that you have left."