Nissan worker diagnosed with terminal cancer sets fundraising challenge with 'best friends' - pet dogs Woody and Jessie

A Nissan worker diagnosed with terminal cancer is on a fundraising mission to help others with the disease with his two best friends – pet dogs Woody and Jessie.
Mark Turbitt with pet dogs Woody (left) and Jessie.Mark Turbitt with pet dogs Woody (left) and Jessie.
Mark Turbitt with pet dogs Woody (left) and Jessie.

Mark Turbitt, a senior supervisor at Nissan, was diagnosed with melanoma seven years ago after finding a small cancerous mole on his back, which he had removed.

After five years of scans and treatment, in 2019, the 45-year-old from Jarrow was told he was in remission, however just three months later he discovered a lump in his neck and after undergoing surgery and regular scans, was told his cancer had spread to his liver, spleen and lungs, with doctors giving him a terminal diagnosis in 2020.

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Despite suffering from severe fatigue and pain, Mark, who lives with his wife and two children, is determined to raise money and awareness for Cancer Research UK by walking two miles every day in October with Woody, a French Bulldog and Jessie, a Jackawawa.

Mark Turbitt with pet dog WoodyMark Turbitt with pet dog Woody
Mark Turbitt with pet dog Woody

“The prognosis isn’t great. I don’t know how long I’ve got left, it could be six months, it could be 12 months, I've just got to take it how it comes and live life to the full,” said Mark.

“I love my dogs. With lockdown and everything that’s gone on they’ve really saved me mentally and they’re my best friends. They’ve kept me sane during covid and I love taking them out because it forces me to get out and really helps with my mental health.

"I’ve always wanted to do something for cancer research because research is key for this generation and the next in finding a cure for cancer.”

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When setting up a fundraising page, Mark only targeted to raise £200 and was blown away when the fundraiser reached over £2,000 in just a matter of days.

He added: “I’m so overwhelmed by the reaction to the fundraiser. I didn’t expect it to take off like it has. It’s overwhelming to see people supporting me but also cancer research.

"The support makes me determined to live my life to the fullest in the time I've got left.”

:: To support Mark on his journey, visit his fundraising page at

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