Homeless veteran who survived cancer is travelling the coast for children with terminal illnesses

Shamus with his dogs
Shamus with his dogs
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A homeless veteran and cancer survivor is travelling the coastline with his six dogs to raise money for poorly children.

Shamus Westwood is currently making his way across East Sussex with his loyal companions to fundraise for holidays for children with terminal cancer. He has so far gone from Hastings to Bexhill and aims to be in Eastbourne in the next few days.

Photo by Justin Lycett

Photo by Justin Lycett

The 42-year-old said, “The support I have been getting from this area is unbelievable, everyone is amazing.”

He explained how he became homeless after getting into debt while undergoing chemotherapy, “I came in remission seven months ago then I was made homeless.”

Rather than part with his beloved dogs, Shamus says he wants to take on this challenge with Ghandi, Bear, Storm, Pagan, Fergus, and Crystal because, ‘It’s better than just being a statistic’.

He said he was moved seeing children remain positive while being treated in hospital, “I wasn’t enjoying myself when I was in hospital but I quite often saw the kids and was impressed in how much braver than me they were, they were happy and taking it in their stride.”

He added, “The trip should be around at least 6,500 miles with every penny I raise used to fund raise money for kids with terminal cancer to pay for a once in a lifetime trip.”

Shamus’ friend Megan Skinner said, “He is a veteran from Afghanistan, with all the trauma that entails.

“He wants to provide holidays for children suffering with cancer, to try and give wonderful memories to children who are going through what can be a vicious treatment.

“He’s sleeping out most nights, he needs shelter. He’s a great house guest.

“He will take food for his dogs and a black coffee with four sugars if anyone wants to help.”

Shamus, who has already made almost £2,000 though he only just started his journey in Kent, is aiming to make it to Eastbourne for Friday (January 12).

To follow the cause, search #gumparoundtheuk and to donate visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/gumparound