Rob Van Engelen says the Tilburg Ten Miler may be his last race as cancer spread throughout his body

Melanoma cancer was discovered six and a half years ago in 54-year-old Rob van Engelen and it was successfully removed.  But three weeks ago he was told that he had metastases throughout his body. His goal now is to participate in the Tilburg Ten Miles in September to raise money for research into melanoma cancer. "I see this as my last run."

In 2012, a birthmark on Rob's back was itching and bleeding so violently that he went to the doctor. He was immediately referred to a dermatologist at the hospital. “You don't immediately think the worst, but the place had to be removed. I had surgery and lymph nodes were immediately removed from my armpit for examination. Then there were no metastases and I had to check every so often.”

It was an exciting time for Rob, his two children Lars (29) and Britt (27) and for his partner Ghislaine. “The first year was very difficult and there was a lot of uncertainty. I lost faith in my body. As time goes by this becomes less and you will start to live an ordinary life again.”

When he was refurbished, Rob returned to work as a monitoring and advising nurse at CZ in Tilburg and started his hobbies. “I could do everything again. I am always busy with sports such as playing football and running.”

Three weeks ago, Rob and his family got the worst news out there. “Two days before we went on holiday to Greece, I was told. We immediately canceled the vacation and I had to undergo investigations. I got the results last week and it doesn't look good.”

The studies showed that Rob has metastases throughout his body. “This news was very intense. My children have been told that their father doesn't have much time left to live. Fortunately they come by every day.”

Rob starts an infusion therapy on Wednesday and this is his only rescue. This treatment works for sixty percent of patients. “I receive a total of four treatments and they take place every three weeks. After twelve weeks the doctors will see if it works. If that is the case, then it is life-prolonging. If this treatment does not work, I have two to six months to live.”

Rob still wants to get everything out of life and that's why he wants to raise money for research into melanoma cancer. He had already registered for the Tilburg Ten Miles, but now sees a new goal in this. “I see this as my last run. I want to link a sponsored run to this participation and in this way raise money for research. "

Whether Rob will be able to run 16 kilometers in September is not certain, but he will continue his fight. “I feel good, but that can change in twelve weeks. My children are walking along and eleven people have already registered for this sponsor run. I think this group will grow in the coming weeks. With this run I want to raise as much money as possible for the Dutch Cancer Society. It is no longer for me, but for the people after me. "

posted Wednesday August 7th
by Eva van der Weele