Blood cancer has affected my family on two occasions, my Mum was diagnosed with multiple myeloma around 2004, unfortunately Mum lost her battle against the disease in 2013. In March 2019 my Sister was diagnosed with Leukaemia and in March 2020 a close friend was also diagnosed with Leukaemia and is receiving treatment.

Leukaemia is a type of blood cancer. It starts in the blood-forming tissue and leads to the over-production of abnormal white blood cells. This affects the the part of the immune system that defends the body against infection. There are four different types of Leukaemia, but chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) is the type that my sister has, some of the symptoms include: tiredness, night sweats, breathlessness, fever, bruises, frequent infections, aching arms and legs. However it is possible to do well on treatment for many years.

I was with my Sister during her diagnosis, it was like deja vu, we had been on a similar journey with Mum, we were in the same room with the same medical team hearing a similar diagnosis, I was so upset for my sister, and, felt so helpless. I wanted to do something to help raise awareness of this awful disease and also raise funds to help develop treatments and a cure for blood cancer, but what could I do? Thankfully following a few set backs and several changes of medication, my sister and friend are currently responding very well to treatment.

About three and a half years ago I started to take part at the Conkers Parkrun and have got hooked on running taking part in a couple of 10K races, a half marathon and joining the local running club, South Derbyshire Road Runners. It seemed natural to link something I enjoy with the fundraising, I looked at several half marathons and even considered a marathon for the fund raising event before looking at the Leukaemia UK web site and seeing the Ultra Challenges!

I signed up for the Jurassic Coast Ultra Challenge, 58Km (36.04 miles) from Poole to Weymouth, unfortunately due to the COVID-19 the event has been postponed twice and the date changed for May. I have decided to wait until 4th September 2021 and run the South Coast Challenge when hopefully restrictions will have been eased.

The South Coast challenge is 55Km (34.2 miles) with a 1310 metre (4327 feet) climb, the run starts in Eastbourne, up Beachy Head, over the magnificent Seven Sisters, and along the famous South Downs Way with stunning views over the sea to Brighton where I complete the challenge, the scenery will be spectacular, however the paths are remarkably undulating. I will not be doing the challenge alone as my nephews wife, Wendy's daughter in law, Kris has signed up to run with me.

The ultra-run is only part of the of the challenge, I started training in January 2020, in all I have partially completed three training schedules running a combined total of 423 miles before the events were postponed. I started my training for the September 2021 challenge on the 19th April and currently completed 93Km (57.5 miles) of 773Km (480 miles) an average of 24 miles a week for 20 weeks in all weathers right up to race day.

The magnitude of the run and training, has been and is daunting, the support and sponsorship I have received so far has really spurred me on to succeed. I am aiming to raise £500 for Leukaemia UK any donation towards my challenge will help to fund research to find a cure to this disease that touches so many lives.

Thank you for taking the time to read my fundraising page and any donations pledged. Ian Boam