A FARMER who has terminal kidney cancer is taking on the challenge of a lifetime to raise funds for the charity fighting the disease.

Jon Birchall, 54, was diagnosed with episodic fatigue when he sought medical advice after finding himself constantly tired in 2010.

Doctors later discovered he had a tumour the side of a cricket ball on his left kidney and, despite surgery to remove the cancer, medics later found it had already spread to his lungs.

Now, Mr Birchall, a farm business consultant who lives in Letton with wife Sarah, is set to ride more than 5,000 miles around the coast of mainland Britain to show the world he will not be beaten and that he is ‘Facing Up 2 Kidney Cancer’.

Mr Birchall has committed to spend his remaining time – estimated to be 30 to 40 months – promoting awareness of early diagnosis and raising funds for research into treatments and an eventual cure for kidney cancer for the James Whale Fund for Kidney Cancer.

He said: "What I have got is incredibly slow growing. I went through a really bleak patch before Christmas when I felt like I was waiting to die. But then I decided 'you still have time to have a life'.

"I love my motorbike and I love this country and I want to see as much of it as possible. This is a ride I have always wanted to do and now I have a real purpose. I would love to meet as many people as possible as I travel around the country, I’m very excited about the ride."

Mr Birchall said he began speaking to the James Whale Fund which has supported him through his journey.

"Little by little we realised my case isn't unique," he added. "Kidney cancer can be cured if it's caught early. The surgeons are marvellous in terms of taking kidneys out or taking bits off – that side of things is really well developed.

"But I can see that the surgeons must find it incredibly frustrating that they can do all these things but more than often it's caught too late.

"I'm doing this to raise people's awareness of it, both patients and doctors to try and pick up on the warning signs that might indicate kidney cancer."

The father-of-three is also hoping to raise as much money as possible to fund research into the disease.

He will ride more than 5,000 miles in five stages – covering about 140 miles a day – between June and September, starting on June 6 from Blackpool.

Mr Birchall's symptoms were atypical as he suffered from fatigue, fevers, and chills.

Symptoms such as blood in urine, persistent low back pain or pain in the side between the ribs and hipbone, could be a sign of kidney cancer.

"One of the key messages is that you know your own body better than anybody else," he said. "If you get symptoms that wont go away ask for a second opinion."

To follow Mr Birchall's journey and to donate visit facingup2kidneycancer.org