Lancing runner Lloyd Palmer is planning 50 marathons in 50 days to raise money for Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice.
The 32-year-old wants to raise £15,000 in memory of Connor Gilbert, his neighbour’s nephew, who was cared for by Chestnut Tree House and died in 2006.
Lloyd said: “Chestnut Tree House supported Connor and his family during this difficult time and provide the best quality of life for children, young people and their families and offer practical, social and spiritual support throughout each child’s life, however short it may be.”
He said he had the ‘crazy idea’ of running 50 marathons in 50 days, inspired by Ricardo Abad Martínez, a Spanish ultra-runner who was famous for completing 500 marathons in 500 consecutive days.
Lloyd works in facilities management at Windlesham School in Washington, a long-term supporter of the hospice.
He will start his 50-day challenge on December 1, 2016, and will be running every single day, early in the morning, on two devised routes – Lancing to Brighton and back, and Lancing to Littlehampton and back.
Lloyd said: “Not only is this a massive personal challenge for me but I want to raise much-needed funds for Chestnut Tree House so they can help other families and children like Connor.”
Connor’s Roadrunner will include Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Lloyd-Palmer50in50 for more information.
Connor was born in July 1998 and was referred for investigations when he did not make the milestones expected as he approached his first birthday.
He could not walk or talk but no cause could be found, despite various investigations.
In April 2005, Connor became unwell and spent a month in intensive care, where his mu, Zoe, was told his brain stem was shutting down and there was nothing that could be done.
Connor was transferred to Chestnut Tree House for end-of-life care, having been given just a few days to live.
Zoe said: “When we got there, it was nothing like we expected. It wasn’t the clinical environment we’d imagined but a home, with lovely bedrooms, full of toys and books. There were beautiful gardens, a music room, a sensory room and a pool.”
Connor spent a month at the hospice, where it became clear he had different ideas to those of the doctors.
He was able to return home and go back to school and swimming, which he loved.
Zoe said: “It was a year later that Connor became unwell again and I had to make the hardest decision of my life. Do I have him ventilated and transferred to London, where he would be attached to lots of machines again, or let him be in a place he loved?
“We had him transferred to Chestnut that night and at 04.50 on May 15, 2006, my beautiful angel fell asleep forever.”
Caroline Roberts-Quigley, community fundraiser for Chestnut Tree House, said staff at the charity were all in awe of Lloyd.
“We would ask everyone to please think of him pounding the streets for Chestnut Tree House, particularly over the Christmas period, and to support him in whatever way they can,” she added.
To follow Lloyd’s mega marathon challenge, visit the Connor’s Roadrunner Appeal Facebook page.