A teenager is running 104 miles – the equivalent of four marathons – during May for his dad, who has a rare cancerous brain tumour.
William Priddy, 13, who had already signed up to run a mile a day throughout 2021 for the charity Brain Tumour Research to help find better outcomes and ultimately a cure for brain tumours, is now raising the stakes in May by running a daily average of 3.6 miles.
William, who has already raised close to £7,400 for the charity, has been inspired by Brain Tumour Research’s Jog 26 Miles in May, which his sister Amelia, 15, has also signed up to.
William, from Staines-upon-Thames, said:
“Amelia has been my biggest cheerleader ever since I started running a mile a day at the beginning of the year. I have been running my miles doing lengths of our garden and have managed to completely ruin our lawn, but fortunately, Dad and Mum don’t mind as it’s for a cause so close to our hearts.
“We were all totally shocked when Dad was diagnosed in November last year, and then we were devastated to learn on Christmas Eve that his brain tumour was cancerous.
“Dad is our hero. As we can’t do anything ourselves to help Dad get better, doing Jog 26 Miles in May or, in my case, four times that distance seems the next best thing and gives us something to focus on during these tough times.”
William’s dad, Greg, a 44-year-old business account manager with Edgewell Personal Care, has a primary brain CNS lymphoma (PCNSL) located deep within his brain. Doctors told him that surgery wasn’t possible because of the tumour’s location and the high risk of permanent brain damage. He has since been undergoing gruelling chemotherapy at St Luke’s Hospital in Guildford and will be having a stem cell transplant at the Royal Marsden Hospital in Sutton, hopefully within the next couple of months.
His wife, Jo, said:
“I am so proud of William. He just gets on with it. He and his sister Amelia, 15, never moan that they haven’t been able to go to school or see friends and won’t be able to until at least September because of having to shield to keep Greg safe.
“Not to be outdone by her brother, who is pretty fit because he normally would be playing rugby regularly, Amelia has taken on Brain Tumour Research’s Jog 26 Miles in May challenge. I am really proud of her because she is a dancer and definitely not a runner, so this is very much out of her comfort zone.
“I am not sure the lawn will ever recover though!”
Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet historically just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.
Charlie Allsebrook, community development manager for Brain Tumour Research, said:
“We are really sorry to hear about Greg’s diagnosis and wish him the very best. This is a very stressful time for all the family.
“We are so grateful to William and Amelia, who are absolutely amazing in their support for the charity.”
Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research at dedicated centres in the UK. It also campaigns for the Government and the larger cancer charities to invest more in research into brain tumours in order to speed up new treatments for patients and, ultimately, to find a cure. The charity is calling for a national annual spend of £35million in order to improve survival rates and patient outcomes in line with other cancers such as breast cancer and leukaemia and is also campaigning for greater repurposing of drugs.
To make a donation to Brain Tumour Research inspired by William, please visit his JustGiving page.