Marathon plans for Ross-on-Wye father

By Catherine Barkley in Local People

A Ross-on-Wye dad of three will be running his first ever marathon on April 23rd 2017, to raise funds for Clic Sargent; a charity which provides cancer patients, under the age of 25, and their families, with the support and help they need during their cancer treatment and beyond.

33-year-old Andy French, who works as a duty manager in Morrisons, will be taking part in the London Marathon in just over six weeks. He told the Ross Gazette that his best friend died of cancer when he was 36, and Andy wanted to do something to raise funds for a charity which provides help to those affected by the disease, rather than focusing on the research and cure side.

While Andy has not had to rely on the help and support from Clic Sargent directly, he told the Gazette that he does know some people who have benefited from the charity.

Andy’s cousin, Alice, who is 20 years old, and her fiancé, Chris, were helped by Clic Sargent last year, after Alice was diagnosed with gestational trophoblastic neoplasia, a very rare form of cancer.

Another of Andy’s friends, one of his work colleagues, was helped by Clic Sargent when their 18-month-old toddler, was diagnosed with a brain tumour.

Andy said that when a loved one is diagnosed with cancer, this puts a heavy burden on all family members. “Seeing the burden on parents with a child who had cancer really stuck with me,” Andy told the Gazette.

He added that many families will often experience an extra strain when they are faced with the costs of getting to and from hospitals, and some parents may have to pay hotel bills if their child is being cared for far away from home.

Clic Sargent have homes where families can stay for free, so they can be close to their child during their treatment in hospital. Andy said that this was something his colleague was very glad to use when their child was being treated in Birmingham, and Alice and Chris could stay in the Clic House when she went for treatment in London.

Andy has had a lot of support from individuals and groups in the town, but told the Gazette that he is especially thankful to Lindsey and Dave at Rainforest Exotics in Ross, as they have donated £550 towards his fundraising efforts.

When Andy signed up to do the London Marathon for Clic Sargent, he pledged that he would raise at least £1,800, and the donation that came from Rainforest Exotics was a good chunk of this amount, which meant that he could focus more on his training than the fundraising side of his marathon challenge.

Lindsey and Dave’s only condition for giving Andy the donation, was that Andy had to hold Debbie, a tarantula, and, as Andy has a phobia of spiders, this was no small achievement, but he managed it, so true to their word, Dave and Lindsey gave Andy the generous donation.

Andy told the Gazette that completing a marathon has always been on his bucket list, but he has not always been so enthusiastic about running. He said that he and his brother completed a 10 kilometre run in Bristol about seven years ago, but after Andy joked to his brother, “Don’t ever make me do that again.”

But since he began training for the marathon, Andy said that he has quit smoking and lost some weight, so in addition to raising funds for a much-deserved charity, he is more healthy and active than he has felt in years.

To sponsor Andy visit his page, uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Andy.French1

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