A plasterer from Hastings plans to run 1,000 miles over the course of the year to raise £5,000 for Down’s Syndrome inspired by his nephew.
Steven Willis, 31, from Priory Road, begins his challenge on Sunday (October 12) when he will run in the Oxford Half Marathon. He will end his 1,000 mile challenge at the same event in 2015.
Inspired by his nephew, six-year-old Lucas, who has Down’s Syndrome and has recently been diagnosed with leukaemia, Steven hopes to raise £5,000 through training runs and races. He is already signed up for a full marathon at Beachy Head, the Bexhill Poppy Half Marathon, the Bedford Half Marathon and the Brighton Half Marathon with more races planned.
Steven said: “Lucas is my motivation: he is such a lovely person despite all of the problems life has thrown at him. He always lights up the room laughing, talking about football and just generally being awesome.
“I am really excited to just undertake the challenge but hope to stay injury-free and complete the 1,000 miles.”
Steven, a member of the Hastings Runners, has stepped up his training as he prepares to undertake the challenge.
Lucas’ mother Shelley Eldridge, who lives in Oxford, said her son’s diagnosis has changed family life. She said: “As parents our whole world has fallen apart. Lucas has become quiet and withdrawn; not the normal funny, happy Lucas.
“He doesn’t really understand what is going on – we have told him he has poorly blood. It is hard seeing him so poorly. Down’s Syndrome Oxford has been an amazing support for us from the minute we found out Lucas had it. I can still remember the day we first met some amazing mums and children, and walking out at the end crying with happiness, thinking everything was going to be OK. I have met some amazing parents and Lucas has lots of friends who he can meet and have fun days out with. We are so proud of Steven.”
You can donate at www.justgiving.com/steven-willis1 or text LDSO99 with any amount from £1- £100 to 70070.