A Larne Grammar School pupil has raised a whopping £2,385 for a charity that is close to his heart, after completing the London Marathon.
Year 14 pupil James Stafford took on the mammoth fundraising challenge in aid of Cancer Focus NI.
Finishing the London Marathon has been a long term objective for James, who took up running under difficult circumstances.
He said: “I was 12 years old when my mum was first diagnosed with cancer and to be honest I don’t think it ever really sank in.
“It wasn’t until she developed cancer for the second time that I understood the enormity of the situation and started learning about chemotherapy and the operations that she would have to undergo.
“At the age of 51 she is back to work and fighting fit.
“I took up running to relieve stress, so when I got the opportunity to run the London Marathon it was a dream come true and the decision to raise money for Cancer Focus NI was an easy one.”
James ran the marathon to celebrate his mother’s fight against the disease, but unfortunately in January of this year he lost both an aunt and an uncle to cancer.
His grandmother and another uncle are also both battling the disease.
However, James recently received the fantastic news that his mother has been discharged from the Cancer Centre.
He added: “We know how lucky we are, especially after we hear that so many other people’s journeys do not end so well.
“Knowing that the money that I raise for Cancer Focus NI will be kept here, in Northern Ireland, means that I am helping people in my local community and throughout all of Northern Ireland, as well as helping to fund research into the treatment of cancer through Dr Kienan Savage at Queen’s University.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone; my family for their fantastic support, my school for allowing me to fundraise and to all the businesses and individuals who made very generous donations. “
Sarah Atcheson, from Cancer Focus NI described James as a “truly inspirational young man”.
She added:“We are absolutely thrilled that James chose to support us in this very special way.
“We would like to take this opportunity to thank him for his ongoing support and wish him all the best with future running events!
“I am amazed that James managed to train and fundraise for the London Marathon, at the same time as studying for his A Levels.
“He seemed to take it all in his stride, although I do know that he has a wonderful family who supported him every step of the way.”
To donate to James’s fundraising mission, visit his Just Giving page at http://www.justgiving.com/james-stafford2.