With just four weeks to go until the 30th anniversary of the Liverpool Half Marathon, we are highlighting the story one of our incredible runners who will be completing the event on 17th March.
Robert Moneta was diagnosed with stage 3 malignant melanoma on 19th January 2023. A keen cyclist, he had growing concerns over how his cancer diagnosis would affect his cycling and would be unable to recover from bike rides in the way that he was used to.
“The diagnosis was a shock; we knew that the melanoma was in my lymph nodes, but I was told that I would need to undergo more tests to try and locate the primary site, and to check if the cancer had further spread into other vital organs. Waiting for the results was an anxious time, and the doctors suspected that the primary site of cancer was an area of skin on my scalp where I had previously had a mole however after undergoing an excision biopsy the tests came back as negative and we never found the primary site of the skin cancer.”
In March 2023, Robert had surgery to have the lymph nodes in his neck removed, however during the surgery it was discovered that the cancer was also in part of the muscle in his neck. After five days, Robert was discharged and was preparing to fly back home to the Isle of Man however he soon began to feel unwell.
“Recovery from surgery and the post-surgery infection felt frustratingly slow. I wasn’t able to ride my bike for around twelve weeks, as I had little movement in my neck and wasn’t able to lift my right shoulder. When I was finally able to progress from the turbo, and ride again properly, it was clear to me that I couldn’t ride my bike in the same way that I used to.
I knew I would have to have post-surgery adjuvant treatment and was hoping that this would only be a matter of weeks or months, so I could get back to the important business of riding my bike. I was devastated when I was told that I would need to have immunotherapy for around 12 months.”
Robert received his first immunotherapy treatment on 23rd June, and just over a month later decided to take up road running to maintain his fitness.
Every six weeks, Robert attends the oncology unit as an outpatient, and as long as his blood tests from the day before are okay he then receives an intravenous infusion of pembrolizumab. This helps his immune system to identify and kill cancer cells. Even with this treatment there is a significant risk that Robert’s melanoma will return, and he will need to continue immunotherapy as well as regular skin check-ups and scans for the foreseeable future.
“When I saw an Instagram post by Clatterbridge Cancer Charity about the upcoming Liverpool Half Marathon, I knew I wanted to get involved. Keeping fit and healthy has helped me manage the side effects of my immunotherapy treatment as best I can. Being diagnosed with melanoma and undergoing surgery and treatment has deprived me of the ability to get involved in some of the bigger challenges I had been looking forward to. Running the Liverpool Half Marathon is a chance for me to regain focus and to try and help other people undergoing similar treatments to me."
Clatterbridge Cancer Charity fund projects like Dr Jessica Hale’s MOTIVATE programme, which aims to provide patients receiving immunotherapy for melanoma a personalised fitness programme to help them reduce tiredness and improve how they feel while having treatment.
We are so proud of everything Robert has achieved so far, and will continue to achieve. He has since raised more than £4,000 for the Charity and we can’t wait to cheer him on as he crosses the finish line this March.
Registration for entries in to this year’s Liverpool Half Marathon will close soon, so if you would like to join Robert at this year’s Liverpool Half Marathon, find out more here.
Alternatively, you can get in touch with our Events Team today to find out how by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0151 556 5566.