Milton Keynes schoolboy completes extreme 48-hour running challenge to help find cures for brain tumours
This 16-year-old took on a major running challenge to support his friend's lifelong battle with this devastating disease.
William Eastwood completed a 4.4.48 challenge in support of his family friend,Megan Armstrong, a 21-year-old from Northumberland who has lived with a brain tumour since she was 14 months old.
Megan was given a survival prognosis of just four weeks, despite reaching 21 in January, she still lives with severe and lasting consequences from the brain tumour.
William's challenge involved running four miles every four hours over a 48-hour period..
Through these feats of endurance William has raised more than £2,000 to date for the charity Brain Tumour Research.
William, who has won a scholarship to go to Stowe School for the sixth form, said: “I have known Megan all my life and my parents are her godparents. Seeing the effect Megan’s brain tumour has had on her and knowing that it affects so many young people, yet research into finding a cure is so poorly funded, motivated me to do something about it.
“I knew I was pretty fit – I train twice a day with weights and play for Leighton Town Football Club, as well as Buckingham Rugby Club – so it seemed like a good idea to tackle the 4.4.48 challenge.”
Megan and William’s families became close friends when William’s dad Simon and Megan’s dad Philip were working together in the North-East. Megan’s mum Sandra in Prudhoe, near Newcastle-upon-Tyne, said: “Will has a big heart. There aren’t many 16-year-olds who would be interested in raising money for something we live with every day. It’s amazing what he has done.
“Megan has undergone chemotherapy, radiotherapy and a number of big operations to debulk the tumour. Originally, she was given just four weeks to live and, since then, we have had other times when we’ve been told she would only live a few more months, but incredibly she is now 21.
"However, Megan is blind, disabled and in a wheelchair, has learning difficulties and the academic age of a five-year-old, as well as hormonal issues, problems with sleeping, eating and short-term memory loss. Despite all this she can hold a good conversation with adults.
“It is lovely that Will is raising awareness of brain tumours in Brain Tumour Awareness Month, which culminates in the UK’s biggest brain tumour fundraising and awareness event – Wear A Hat Day. I hope that lots of people are inspired to donate to Brain Tumour Research. It is a very worthwhile cause.”
Will added: “I want to thank everyone who has donated and Dad, my step mum Dominique and Kate for supporting me by running with me during the final night runs when it was getting really tough and sleep deprivation was hitting me bad. I also want to give a shout out to a couple of great mates: Will Glister and Jamie Angus who both supported me by running alongside me on some of my four-milers.
“In fact, I started to struggle just two runs in with an Achilles injury, but managed to push through with painkillers and thinking of Megan and what she has to contend with every day. It would be amazing if I could get my fundraising to £2,740 which is the equivalent of one day of research sponsored and then I could dedicate it to Megan.”
Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet historically just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.
Wear a Hat Day is on March 29 and you can find out more about the socially distanced events planned for this year here.