Touching final message from dad spurs on young Rugby fundraiser - The Rugby Observer

Touching final message from dad spurs on young Rugby fundraiser

Rugby Editorial 17th Dec, 2014 Updated: 27th Oct, 2016   0

A RUGBY student is drawing inspiration from the memory of her late father as she prepares to give up booze in January to raise funds for life-saving cancer research.

Courtney Boxell, 20, from Cawston, will take part in Cancer Research UK’s Dryathlon in memory of her dad, Mark Boxell, who lost his battle with the disease nearly two years ago.

Courtney, who took part in January 2014, is all set to go ‘on the wagon’ again this January and is encouraging people across the region to sign up ahead of the New Year.

The 20-year-old, who is studying for a degree in Community and Youth Work at Hull University, says the challenge is the perfect way to live out the motto she has tattooed on her arm – ‘You will cope well’.

The inspiring words are taken from her dad’s last message to her, written inside a card sent for her 19th birthday. Courtney’s dad passed away sixteen days before her birthday. She has since had the message tattoed on her wrist in his handwriting.

Mark, a water treatment engineer, was diagnosed with terminal oesophageal cancer in February 2013 and died in June at the age of 47 after many months of hospice stays.

Courtney said: “I still think about my dad every single day but I have happier memories now. It was terrible to see him suffering at the end and I struggled to get those images out of my head but now I’m starting to think of him in happier times.

“I did Dyathlon last year, but it will be even more difficult this year as I go back to university fairly early in January and will be surrounded by all my mates enjoying a drink in the student bars!

“As Dad’s message is tattooed on my wrist, I will spot it every time I raise a glass to my lips, so it should help me stay strong and teetotal. It’s really important to me to raise funds for research and help more people survive, so I want to encourage anyone who can to take part in Dryathlon.”

Jane Redman, Cancer Research UK spokeswoman for Warwickshire, said: “We’re delighted that Courtney is supporting our Dryathlon campaign.

“Many of our Dryathletes, like Courtney, have told us about the great sense of achievement that comes from realising their goal, with the added bonus of 31 hangover-free days.

“It may be the height of party season, but we’re encouraging people to commit to Dryathlon now, so they’re ready and raring to go on January 1. Every pound raised by our iron-willed Dryathletes will help fund life-saving research.”

Dryathlon challenges people to sign up now to ban the booze in January. The event has been growing in popularity since it launched two years ago, with 55,000 people taking part in January 2014 and raising £5.8 million to help beat cancer sooner.

Supporters can register for Dryathlon as individuals or set up a team of friends, family and colleagues to motivate each other along the way.

For those who find the thought of 31 days off the sauce too daunting, the ‘tipple tax’ allows Dryathletes to donate a £20 penalty to compensate if they fall off the wagon.

Visit to sign up to the Dryathlon.

Visit to sponsor Courtney’s Dryathlon.

Courtney’s tattoo bears the inspiring words written by her dad, in his handwriting. Photograph by Richard Walker /

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