A local man is set to run the Belfast Marathon next month to raise funds for Cancer Focus NI in memory of his late father.
Ryan Abraham is running in memory of his father Ronnie who sadly passed away last October aged 56, just a week before his 57th birthday.
“I ran the Belfast Marathon for the first time last year. I really enjoyed the experience and challenge of running a full marathon and it was great to raise some important funds along the way,” Ryan said.
He added: “I had considered running again this year but it wasn’t until late in 2013 that I felt I had a very special reason for taking part. Last July, my dad was told he had pancreatic cancer. He had gone for a biopsy on three occasions and on the third occasion the mass was so firm the needle actually broke and the reading was inaccurate.
“Before another biopsy could be arranged he became unwell and had to undergo surgery to stem a massive bleed. Against the odds he recovered and was discharged from intensive care. Sadly this was only for a short time as his body couldn’t fight the illness. My dad’s organs began to fail on October 17 and he passed away in Antrim Intensive care.
“In Summer 2013 both my Granny and Auntie were also diagnosed with cancer. My Granny had to undergo surgery in January to have her womb removed followed by five sessions of radiotherapy. Meanwhile my Aunt Angela has just finished her programme of radiotherapy and chemotherapy and has been given the all clear so they are both now on the road to recovery.
“It’s been a tough time for the family, but having had three family members suffer this terrible illness and having to watch as my dad fought so hard and defied the odds time and time again just makes running 26 miles seem like a walk in the park.
“There is one thing that cancer has proven and that is that I have a family of fighters who I am proud of and I hope that in some small way they will be proud of me for supporting Cancer Focus NI.
“When I signed up for this year’s Marathon I was still uncertain about which charity I would run it for. By coincidence just a few weeks after I signed up I got the job with Cancer Focus.
“Through working with the charity you really see where the money is going and how it is helping local people suffering with cancer but also their families, I have met so many people that truly appreciate the work we do. It really makes it all worthwhile, and this is why I’m running for Cancer Focus NI.
“Even having had a personal experience with cancer, I never realised what support services were out there for us as a family. My time at Cancer Focus has highlighted the excellent services that Cancer Focus offers.”
If you would like to sign up to run for Cancer Focus NI at the Belfast City Marathon on May 5 please 028 9068 0754 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any concerns about cancer please call the Cancer Focus free Helpline on 0800 783 3339