John Hammond is a man on a mission - to complete four marathons in four days to raise funds for children suffering from the DIPG brain tumour.
One of the four he’s running for is Waringstown youngster Cameron Truesdale, whose battle with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Gliomas (DIPG) has touched the hearts of people not just across Northern Ireland but across the world.
Cameron has been battling the highly aggressive and difficult to treat brain tumour for just over a year, with his family launching a fundraising drive to fund the more than £300,000 treatment he needs in Mexico.
The ongoing treatment is not supported by the NHS and the family have so far raised in excess of £100,000 thanks to the generosity of people across Northern Ireland and further afield.
Indeed John, from The Wirral, Liverpool, learned of Cameron’s case from the parent of another child being treated in Mexico and decided to embark on his marathon mission to support them and raise awareness of the illness.
John explained: “I am looking to raise some money for six children who suffer with DIPG. To do this I will run a marathon in four of the children’s hometowns in consecutive days.
“The other two children both live in my hometown and I have been fundraising for them both for a while now. Whatever money we make will be split equally to the six children. I have not left much time to organise this or to raise money as I will be running the first marathon in Northern Ireland for Cameron on Thursday, March 15, next day I will be in Southampton to run for Zoe. On the Saturday it is London for Kaleigh and then on the Sunday it is up to Scotland to run for Luke. Any donations no matter how small would be massively appreciated.”
John said he ran his first marathon six years ago and this is not the first time he has run back to back to back marathons - he once did 32 marathons in 32 days!
John explained: “I love running and enjoy fundraising so the two go hand in hand.”
He’ll be staring off from Cameron’s school, Brownlow College, on Thursday morning at 10am - and invites anyone to join him along all or part of the way.
Indeed, he could do with a few directions around Craigavon’s highways and byways as when asked about his route he said: “I don’t have the route at the moment but we will be doing the full 26.2 miles.” He will also be taking in Cameron’s home village of Waringstown.
You can sponsor or donate here: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/Hammo76
Cameron’s mum Cassandra Finnegan speaking on behalf of the family said: “The support we have received from so many people right across the country, and indeed across the world, has been overwhelming. We are so grateful; to everyone who has helped so far and to all those planning further fundraisers. Every donation means so much to us.
“We are so grateful to John for his effort and I would ask everyone to please show him some support when he is coming through all the towns Cameron knows.”