Rugby League legend Jamie Peacock MBE is taking on the incredible challenge of the Virgin Money London Marathon for a second time in memory of his dad Darryl and in support of our Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice in Leeds.
Jamie Peacock’s dad Darryl was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer in November 2011. He remembers that day clearly.
“I was on holiday in Florida when I received the news that my dad had been given less than three months to live,” he recalls. “It was devastating.”
“Sue Ryder Wheatfields staff really cared”
But Darryl was determined to fight back and underwent several gruelling chemotherapy treatments.
Following chemotherapy, he attended sessions at the Wheatfields Day Therapy Unit and then, later, as Darryl’s condition deteriorated, he spent several stays at the hospice. Throughout all this, Jamie remembers how welcoming and friendly the staff were and describes the care as “exemplary”.
“It felt like the staff really cared,” he says. “They were outstanding though a horrible time.”
“Exceptional” care until the end
Darryl Peacock died at Wheatfields Hospice on 6th September 2013 at the age of just 59, almost two years on from his diagnosis.
“Dad was a great bloke,” Jamie says. “He was honest and very patient with time for everyone.
“Dad died at Wheatfields as was his wish. The care they gave him was exceptional so I’m continuing to fundraise to ensure the resources are there to keep Sue Ryder Wheatfields supporting local people.”
Jamie is aiming to run the Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday 28th April in under 3 hours 30 minutes.
“After retiring from pro-sport I just don't have the highs and satisfaction I used to have from pushing myself to my physical and mental limits, so to take on a marathon again in front of a huge crowd is something I can't wait to do.
“For me it’s win-win: I get to raise money for a fantastic charity and I get to once again run the London Marathon.
“Given the amount of pain my dad went through with his cancer – which spread all over his body, including his brain – and the fact he didn’t moan once, I think the London Marathon is one of the closest, most challenging acts I can put myself through in his memory,” he explains.
“Sue Ryder Wheatfields will always have a place in my family’s heart because of the level of care they were able to give my dad and the time they were able to give me with Dad before he passed away. I feel I’ve got a duty to try and help raise money for this place to ensure that other people in Leeds can have the same good experience in bad times.
“It’s going to be tough but I’ll dig deep,” he adds. “With every footstep, I’ll be thinking about what my dad went through.”
Sponsor Jamie’s London Marathon bid via his Virgin Money Giving page