Campaigner The King of Chemo: ‘Brain cancer’s given me absolute clarity and I wake up every day with the singular purpose to break the world record’

Born in Dublin, Iain Ward has a background in fitness training in London. After being diagnosed with terminal brain cancer two years ago, he set himself the mission of breaking the world record of raising the most money ever for cancer research by running marathons.

​What’s your earliest memory?

Walking around my parents’ bathroom.

When and where were you happiest?

At music festivals in my teenage years and early twenties.

What is your biggest fear?


What’s your least, and your most, attractive trait?

They’re both the same answer — I live in the moment.

What trait do you deplore most in others?


What’s the first thing you’d do if you were Taoiseach?

I’d massively tax sugar and bring in rules that you can’t advertise ‘sugar free’ food when it contains artificial sweeteners, hopefully ending the impulse buys kids get so easily, and giving chocolate and cake as a gift — it’s not a gift. Beer and wine cause problems, but at least they can make a great deal of situations a lot more fun and enjoyable.

Who would you most like to go for a pint with?


Which fictional character do you most identify with?

Tony Stark/Iron Man. He had a vital organ severely damaged and went on to fight something that killed/kills half of the world, and sacrificed himself in achieving that.

What is your most treasured possession?

I don’t agree with it, but technically dogs are possessions. I have a dog, Kinky. She is a beagle but she looks more like a jackabee.

What’s your guiltiest pleasure?

I don’t feel guilty about anything I truly get pleasure from, but I 100pc have a sugar addiction.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

No one really cares. Sounds bleak, but the sooner you think that, the more meaningful happiness you’ll find from within.

Who would play you in a film of your life?

Quentin Tarantino. He is my doppelganger.

Do you believe in a god, and is there life after death?

No. It’s just lights out. On/off switch. So there’s nothing to be afraid of or anxious of.

What’s your favourite word?

Surmount. It sounds like it means, as well as it being a good word. It’s like a single-word advice to life.

What’s the last TV show you binge-watched?

I rewatched The Crown, like everyone who lives in the UK, but a lot of people don’t know it’s more of a political history show than a family drama.

If you could have a super power, what would it be?

Be able to control myself like a Sims character. Study when commanded, work out when commanded and, most importantly, sleep when commanded.

What’s your most embarrassing moment?

I have no shame.

What’s the worst job you’ve ever done?

My first job, working in a supermarket, stacking shelves.

Tell us a secret…

I enjoy pints of Guinness.

What’s the biggest lesson cancer has taught you?

I didn’t learn anything, it just gave me a lot of drive and focus. It’s given me absolute clarity and, every day, I wake up with the singular purpose to break the world record, and I do that not by getting donations, but by getting followers and building a huge channel and sponsors.

What’s your favourite music to work out to?

It massively depends on the mood and situation, but Yeah live at Madison Square Garden by LCD Soundsystem never fails to get the blood going.

What figure from history would you like to have met and what would you discuss?

JFK. I’d ask him who did it.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

Gay Bar by Electric Six.

Iain Ward sets off on his expedition — a 3,000-mile fundraiser on foot and by bike from New York to LA — next spring. For details, see @thekingofchemo

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