A former Royal Marine is set to undertake a 40-mile marathon to raise funds for a terminally ill child who could be facing his last Christmas.
Gary Bradwell will be taking on the gruelling unsupported challenge on Saturday, December 14, to raise money for Jake Booth - a six-year-old Mytholmroyd schoolboy who has the life-limiting condition Battens Disease.
Jake was diagnosed with the condition in 2012 during a family holiday and as a result is blind, wheelchair-bound, suffers regular seizures, has to be fed through a tube and is regularly struck down by infections.
And now Elland resident Gary, who was brought up in Mytholmroyd and went to school with Jake’s parents Joel and Joanne, is determined to raise money to make the final months of Jake’s life the best they can possibly be.
Gary, a lecturer at Bradford College, said: “Jake is currently defying the odds on the length of his life and has been left blind, wheelchair bound, suffering from regular seizures, infections and illnesses. Jake also has to be fed through a tube, all of which make life for this young boy, and his loving family, unfairly difficult.
“I hope to raise funds to provide equipment and experiences that will help Jake and his parents enjoy the happiest and most comfortable Christmas possible in the difficult circumstances they face on a daily basis, on what could be their last Christmas together.
“This cause has touched mine and many local people‘s hearts and the opportunity to do something for Jake is something that I know will drive me past the limits of my endurance and complete the 40 mile run.
“I expect to be running for at least eight hours on a route that is all hard surfaced roads and includes a lot of long hard climbs which on top of a recent knee injury and some frustratingly quiet training months, will make this ultra-marathon even more testing for myself.”
As a result of his condition, Jake receives regular respite care at the Forget Me Not Hospice in Huddersfield and Martins House Hospice in Boston Spa. The distance between Martins House and Jake’s home is just under 40 miles, which is nearly one and a half marathons - an endurance test Gary said his challenge-seeking mind couldn’t refuse.
Gary added: “I have never ran beyond marathon distance and only done that a couple of times so expect the run, which takes in nearly 3000ft of ascent, to be physically and mentally very arduous. I completed Ironman UK in August this year which has given me the bug for extreme endurance events.
“I would love to finish my 40 mile run at Jake’s house by donating the money raised to Jake and his family, so would appreciate any promised donations prior to the run, if possible.”
To sponsor Gary, email firstname.lastname@example.org or for more information/ full route details go to http://40mileultramarathonrunforjakebooth.blogspot.co.uk/