Spa father ready for a marathon fund-raiser

By Rob George 13/04 Updated: 13/04 11:10

Simon with his own son Oliver who is six months older than Charlie. (s)

A DROITWICH dad will mark his 32nd birthday in style when he hits the streets of the capital next Sunday (April 22) to raise cash for a charity close to his heart.

Simon Smith from Hadzor will tackle the gruelling 26.2mile London Marathon course in a bid to raise £2,000 for leading national children’s charity CHILDREN with CANCER UK.

The 31-year-old has been inspired to don his running shoes by his brother’s nephew Charlie Beard-Harris, who was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia just over a year ago when he was just 10 months old.

The brave little boy, whose grandparents live in Droitwich, underwent chemotherapy soon after his birth, but it failed to kill the cancer.

But following a world-wide search for a bone marrow donor, Charlie underwent life-saving chemotherapy last October and returned home in January.

He still requires weekly checkups at Birmingham Children’s Hospital but is on the road to recovery.

As a result Simon, whose own little boy Oliver is just six months older than Charlie, hopes he can raise vital funds for research into the causes and treatments of childhood cancer.

He will join the Mr Men and Little Miss team at this year’s event and don the trademark Mr Happy and Mr Tickle running vests.

Simon, a British Army Officer of 14 years, said: “I hope to raise awareness of childhood cancer and the outstanding work that charities like CHILDREN with CANCER UK do for the families and research into this illness that affects so many children.

“It’s my way of doing something that will indirectly support Charlie, and other children like him.

“My own son Oliver is healthy and six months older than Charlie and this spurred me to do something to raise awareness and hopefully some funds,” he added.

Ben Twyman, Head of Running Events at CHILDREN with CANCER UK said: “Being told that your child has cancer is the start of an uncertain and difficult time for families.

“Thanks to Simon and the support from all of our dedicated marathon runners we are able to continue vital research into childhood cancer and help save young lives that would have otherwise been lost forever,” he added.

Visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/simonsmith370 for more information or to make a donation.

Buy photos» Charlie Beard-Harris with his mum Fiona. (s)

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