by Dave Massey @brumhour
I’m sure some people might sigh at the thought of getting the train from Birmingham to Edinburgh, or driving over 280 miles up the country.
But Luke O’Mara and his two mates are going to tackle the distance on foot this September (2015), to support Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
Raising awareness of childhood cancer is the primary purpose of his walk. I asked Luke what inspired him to do this. He said:
“My story began when my son Leo started a local playgroup in Stockland Green, while there he made friends with a little lad called Frankie, at the time he seemed a normal, healthy boy, had a smile on his face and playing like the rest.
“It wasn’t until I got talking to his mother I found he had been battling Wilms, a form of cancer which is common in toddlers and attacks the kidneys. At the time it was just before his 3rd birthday, despite Chemo and all the hospital visits, he carried on and fought through it, always with a smile on his face!!
“A year on, Frankie is now cancer free, still having his 12 week checks but he is that same smiling boy I met back then. He has become my inspiration…if a little boy can carry on with such a life changing issue hanging over him then surely I can strive to do something challenging and difficult to make more children happier.
“He got me thinking of what I could do to help, what selfless little act I could do to try and see more little boy or girls like Frankie with smiling faces, whatever challenge they may be facing.
“On the 11th September 2015, I am walking from Birmingham to Edinburgh, a total of 280 miles (1 for every child that dies each year), with a target of completion in 4.5 days in an aim to raise as much money and awareness for child cancer as possible and to highlight all the wonderful things Birmingham’s Children’s Hospital do not only for their cancer patients but every child that has ever walked through their doors.
Luke will be doing the walk with Andy Pring and Neil Strong. They plan to camp along the route, unless someone wants to donate towards a hotel rooms.
Luke said “I think the challenge will be more mentally challenging rather than physical, as I think I’mm going to be having to tell myself “oh it’s another 10 mile” for example.”
He concludes “What can people do, keeping following us on Facebook, Twitter spreading the word of the event. If they can donate then please do so. If they have an idea to support our campaign get in touch. Whether its to hold an event in support of us or just to help out with some equipment etc.”
Check out Luke’s just giving page here: justgiving.com/Luke-O-Mara.
Wilms’ tumour which is a form of kidney cancer that affects 70 children under the age of five in the UK each year. Read more about Wilms’ tumour here.