5 Nottingham based runners ran 26.2 miles on Sunday 4th October to complete the virtual Virgin Money London Marathon to raise vital funds for local boy Henry from Caythorpe.
Henry was diagnosed with high-risk neuroblastoma, an aggressive childhood cancer, in 2019 just before his fourth birthday. Over the past 20 months, Henry has spent both his fourth and fifth birthdays and Christmas day in hospital and endured more than most of us will have to deal with in a lifetime.
He has been affectionately named ‘Henry the Brave’ after undergoing chemotherapy, a seven-hour surgery, stem cell harvest and high dose chemotherapy. Once he has completed immunotherapy, he will finish his frontline treatment with radiotherapy.
Local runners Chris, Craig, Dan, Mark and Stuart are aiming to raise £2,500 by completing their 26.2-mile marathon on Sunday and set themselves an impressive target of finishing in under 3 hours.
Chris Cope, one of the runners, says: “2020 has been pretty hard for everyone but Henry has been through so much more yet he keeps smiling! Hopefully our fundraising can help his parents get much closer to their target.
“We wanted to run in London but it is now going to be a local event with a tracker to make sure we do 26.2miles and finish in Newark. We all want to finish the marathon in under three hours – quite a challenge!”
Henry’s future is uncertain, as high-risk neuroblastoma is a particularly aggressive and complex cancer to treat. Sadly, the disease returns in almost 50% of children and if this happens, less than one in ten will survive.
It means Henry’s parents, Graham and Rachel are desperate for their son to access the Bivalent Vaccine clinical trial at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre in New York as soon as he finishes frontline treatment, which is showing real promise in reducing the chances of relapse. They are fundraising for £202,000 to pay for his best chance at remaining cancer-free. The treatment is not available on the NHS.
“Every child deserves the chance to enjoy a normal life. We are very grateful for everyone’s support, it helps to provide options and opportunities, whatever direction his journey takes,” says Henry’s dad, Graham.
The family have teamed up with the charity Solving Kids’ Cancer to help them raise the funds by January 2021 and access the potentially life-saving treatment.
The runners are planning to run past Henry’s house to see Henry and his family. If you see the runners on Sunday, give them a wave and a cheer!
You can support the runners and Henry’s appeal by donating through their fundraising page on the Solving Kids’ Cancer website or by texting ‘HENRYB’ to 70085 followed by any whole amount up to £20.