Morpeth Harrier Andrew Hebden is joining a dad’s ultramarathon fundraising effort in memory of his son who died last year from a rare brain tumour aged just eight.
Andrew will join Ross Peckham as he tackles a 53-mile run from his home at Marske-by-the-Sea near Redcar to the Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle where his son Lochlan was cared for.
Andrew's fiancee Dr Rebecca Hill, who was Lochlan's consultant, will join the for the last 10 miles of the run on 24 June.
They are raising funds for two charities which support brain tumour research – Children’s Cancer North and Brain Tumour Research.
Lochlan was diagnosed with a rare form of brain tumour, a high-grade glioma, in the summer of 2019. For almost two years he endured surgery, endless hospital visits and months of gruelling treatments.
Lochlan, who died in May 2021, was a real life superhero who never failed to stop smiling and making people laugh throughout his treatment.
Ross, 43, said he hoped the fundraising effort would ensure that something positive came as a result of Lochlan’s passing, and that it would support much-needed research into brain tumours.
He said: “It is a year since Lochlan passed away and the pain remains very raw for all of us. There is nothing we can do to bring Lochlan back. But we can try to raise money for, and awareness of, the research that is so desperately needed into this devastating illness.
“While there is a great deal of awareness about cancer generally, that is frequently not the case with certain types of brain tumours. While rare, these can be devastating forms of cancer that often, as in Lochlan’s case, prove fatal. It is essential that more is done to fund research in this area and to support the vital work of the teams at hospitals such as the Great North Children’s Hospital.”
Rebecca, MRC Clinical Scientist at Newcastle University and Honorary Consultant in Paediatric Oncology at the Great North Children’s Hospital, said: “It was a true privilege meeting Lochlan and being part of the team who cared for him. He was a joy to look after, and I will always miss his infectious smile and the jokes he used play on our medical students!”
Andrew, 43, will be tackling an ultra distance for the first time. His marathon PB is 2hrs 47mins which he achieved at London in 2016. But he is expecting to break any records on the long trek to Newcastle!
He said: “It has been great to get to know Ross and start training with him. I am keen to do my bit and help with the fundraising effort, as well as providing Ross with some support as we undertake this challenge together.
“Although we’ve both run marathons before, this is a run on a different scale. It’s going to be really tough and we are going to be taking it at a very steady pace but we’re both determined to complete it for such a great cause.”
Andrew and Ross would really appreciate any support. You can read more about their story and donate on their Just Giving page at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/runforlochlan