Sub zero temperatures, unpredictable terrain and energy sapping trails are just a few of the challenges awaiting Tony Lormor this winter.
The former Spireites striker and kit man is set to embark on an Arctic Dog Sled in January of next year to raise funds for Lymphoma Association, after he was diagnosed with cancer 12 months ago.
A small lump on his neck prompted a visit to the club doctor while he was working at Chesterfield, who referred him to his local GP, and a subsequent diagnosis was made at Chesterfield Royal
“I never thought for one second it would be cancer, I was in shock and immediately thought of my children,” said the 44-year-old, who made more than 100 appearances for the club during a three-year stay.
“My four kids were my motivation when times were tough and what spurred me on to get it sorted.
“When I told people they were in shock too because I hadn’t shown any symptoms, I didn’t feel ill, it wasn’t a big lump on my neck - it was just something that was there and I wanted to know why.
“The football club were brilliant throughout and very supportive. When I needed to take time off at the end of last season, people mucked in and helped out to make sure the jobs were still being done.”
He decided to take some time away from work and left his post at the Proact Stadium in the summer. And, after a course of radiotherapy, was given the all clear by doctors last week.
A new challenge now awaits him.
“It hit me and I started to think what am I going to do with my life,” he said. “I wanted to take six months out and decided that this was something I wanted to do to raise funds in the hope it can help someone.
“I was more worried about my family and how they were going to react to it. I have four children who accepted it and were really supportive and if by raising some money it helps another family it will be worthwhile.”
Dense forests, frozen lakes and the prospect of Northern Lights are just a few of the upsides to taking on the expedition in a climate where temperatures can drop to between -25 and -40 degrees Celsius during the night.
No luxury hotels. Just the wilderness and five days in the sled driving, or ‘mushing’, a pack of four dogs.
The idea of tackling Swedish Lapland, dubbed ‘Europe’s Last Wilderness’, dropped on to his lap after a flyer posted through his letter box. Shane Nicholson, Chesterfield fitness coach, designed an eight-week training programme and Tony admits he has caught the gym bug.
“I’m two-stone lighter, I really enjoy the training,” he said. “It’s going to be a physical challenge and I know that the preparation will pay off when I’m in my seventh hour on the sled.”
“I’m looking forward to it. It will be a physical challenge and in some ways I’m fitter now than I have been in a long time - there wasn’t as much emphasis on the nutritional side of the game when I was playing as there is now.
“The only thing I’m worried about is staying on the sled and going the right way!”
To make a donation visit Tony Lormor’s Just Giving page or text NODE90 and the amount you wish to donate to 70070.