A FATHER whose son battled cancer sets off today on a mammoth walk to raise money for the charity which supported his family through the ordeal.
In July 2002, Jimmy McManus was told his nine-year-old son had been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system, and his family was devastated.
Since then, Jimmy has supported children’s cancer charity CLIC Sargent by running a number of marathons.
But now the ex-soldier is swapping his running shoes for walking boots to walk 168 miles on the Great Glen and West Highland Way to raise cash for the charity.
Jimmy who lives in Culloden said: "I’m walking the Great Glen and West Highland Way a total of 168 miles because it’s about 10 years since Calum was diagnosed with cancer and I just want to do something a bit more challenging this year to celebrate. I usually run the Loch Ness Marathon every year to raise money. By walking the 168 miles I intend to meet many people on my travels south so I want to spread the word about the fantastic job CLIC Sargent does to make the lives of children with cancer a lot more bearable."
When Calum, who is now 18-years-old was diagnosed, he spent eight months in the Sick Children’s Hospital in Edinburgh fighting the cancer. During that time CLIC Sargent supported the family in a number of ways and over the years.
Jimmy explained it was tough: "During that period I wasn’t getting paid whilst I was off work, which made things very difficult. CLIC Sargent provided us with accommodation near to the hospital and financial assistance for which I will forever be thankful. They were also very supportive in terms of providing information about Calum’s illness and his chances of survival. This helped to keep our morale up during the darkest times."
Calum is now a keen hill walker, football player, plays the pipes and is about to start his second year studying Electrical and Mechanical Engineering at Strathclyde University.
He told the HN: "It is fantastic how guys like my dad raise money for charities such as CLIC Sargent because I know first hand the benefits it brings to children who are struck down with cancer because I had to endure eight months of treatment. So well done to my Dad and many others like him!"
Peter Logie, CLIC Sargent’s community fundraising manager said: "Jimmy’s record in fundraising is quite astounding and he has been supporting CLIC Sargent on a regular basis. He is an inspiration for fundraisers and runners and we are privileged to have such a super guy fundraising for us."
You can support Jimmy by donating at his Virgin Moneygiving site - www.virginmoneygiving.com/www.calum10.com.
CLIC Sargent still has places for marathon runners, 10K and 5K entrants in this year’s Loch Ness Running Festival on October 2.
To find out more information about CLIC Sargent or their events log onto www.clicsargent.org.uk.