Merv Lawrence was in the army, when he was diagnosed with Very Severe Aplastic Anaemia in 2007. Now, he's doing something extraordinary...

They explained that I had a disease which meant my bone marrow was no longer producing the blood cells my body needed. I asked what would happen without successful treatment, and they said I would be dead within nine months.

Following his life-saving treatment, Merv was medically discharged from the Army. After marrying Beccy in 2011 the couple welcomed their sons Charlie in 2011 and Lenny in 2013. However, in 2018, the pair’s third son, Teddy, was born with a life-threatening heart condition. 

We need to feed Teddy through a tube, and he has trouble sleeping. We’re seeing a heart specialist and Teddy will need another operation in the coming months to repair his heart.

You can read Merv and Teddy's full story here.

Love you To The Moon and Back

Grateful for all the care that he and his family have received over the years, Merv, who now works as a builder, has been inspired to make a virtual journey to the moon and back to raise money for four charities. Over the next 6 months Merv and the Moontrekkers crew will be aiming to run, walk or cycle a total of 10,000 miles.

The idea was inspired by my wife. When she puts the kids to bed, she always says, I love you to the moon and back. I’ve always thought that was a lovely thing to say and that it was something you’d do for someone you love.

The real distance to the moon and back is 477,710 miles which is a bit more than I can sensibly manage. But I thought if I make one mile on Earth the equivalent of 50 miles in space, then it’s still a big, but doable, challenge.

In keeping with the theme of his cosmological challenge, Merv will be running to work while wearing a spacesuit. He is also currently building himself a ‘rocket bike’ for when he goes out cycling. Merv will use his keen wit and sense of humour to make sure everyone involved will have fun with this challenge.

The challenge launched at the start of this month, and already over 100 intrepid astronauts have pledged to bravely help get to the moon and back! Here they are getting started:

The money raised by Merv’s challenge is going to four charities: The Aplastic Anaemia Trust, the British Heart Foundation, and local youth engagement charity the Jack Hazeldine Foundation (The JHF), because as a father of three Merv is acutely aware that not every child is going to have a stable childhood surrounded by role models; and the neonatal and stillbirth charity Sands, because Merv understands from bereaved friends and family how important the service they offer is.

My family and I have had so much good fortune, so this is my way of giving back. The charities I’m supporting all do such incredible work. By raising money for them, I hope they’ll be able to support others in the way I’ve been helped.

Get involved

You can find out more about Merv’s fundraising challenge, donate in support, or become an astronaut yourself at:

You can also follow the team's fundraising efforts on Facebook and Instagram - guaranteed to bring a smile to your face!