Daughter's 100-mile charity pledge for father who died of cancer

Lisa Johnson and dad Vearnon, who she is cycling 100 miles to commemorate

Lisa Johnson and dad Vearnon, who she is cycling 100 miles to commemorate - Credit: Big C

The daughter of a man who discovered he had cancer while training for a charity challenge is preparing for one of her own in his memory.

In December 2019, Vearnon Johnson was training for a fitness challenge for the Big C when he began to suffer from acid reflux.

His issue worsened and when he was unable to swallow his favourite treat, a mince pie, on Christmas Day he knew something was not right.

He went for an endoscopy and was diagnosed with stage three cancer of the oesophagus and, despite getting the all clear in April 2021, regressed and died on October 15, 2021.

Now, his daughter Lisa Johnson, 31, is preparing to cycle 100 miles in his memory.

Lisa Johnson and dad Vearnon, after completing their scuba diving instructor course in 2015

Lisa Johnson and dad Vearnon, after completing their scuba diving instructor course in 2015 - Credit: Big C

Miss Johnson, of Hingham, said: "My dad was an incredible man - truly one of a kind. His personality and laugh would fill a room.

"He had always lived an active lifestyle and always lived life to the full.

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"We used to do a lot together; we shared a love for scuba diving and travel and did ju-jitsu together. He was and is my best friend."

Mr Johnson, who lived near Great Ellingham, was 58 when he died.

His death was particularly hard on his daughter, with whom he had an immensely close relationship.

Lisa Johnson, pictured with her mum and dad at her birthday party. The trio called themselves The Three Musketeers

Lisa Johnson, pictured with her mum and dad at her birthday party. The trio called themselves The Three Musketeers - Credit: Big C

Miss Johnson added: "I don't have any brothers or sisters and my parents and I used to call ourselves the three musketeers.

"My dad's passing was and is incredibly tough, trying to support my mum and cope with my own terrible grief. 

"I didn't know anybody else my age who had been through something similar so felt very alone."

Unsure where else to turn, she sought the support of the very charity her father had supported during his own challenge - taking a course of bereavement counselling with the Big C.

To show her gratitude, she will be taking part in the Norwich 100 challenge on Sunday, May 29.

She said: "I hope to raise as much money as possible for Big C in his memory and to thank everyone for their amazing support.

"Big C gave me a safe space to speak openly about how I was feeling, my fears, worries, frustrations and how to support my mum."

To support her fundraising, visit https://justgiving.com/fundraising/Lisa-Johnson97