Ieuan, 18, from Bagillt, Flintshire, is running the Virgin Money London Marathon in memory of his best friend, Jordan. He’s taking on the 26.2 miles to raise money for Teenage Cancer Trust who supported Jordan after he was diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma when he was 18.
Training for the marathon is hard, very hard – especially managing to fit it in whilst studying Sports Coaching and Development at the University of Chester. I’ve always been active, played football and coached but I’ve never done any sort of challenge like this!
I know quite a few people who have ran the marathon before and they say that they’ve taken headphones but they end up taking them off after the first mile because of the crowd, you can’t even hear the music because the supporters are so amazing.
I’m feeling a bit nervous but I’m also really motivated and fired up for it because I’m doing it for my best friend, Jordan, who passed away.
He was my best mate, we played football when we were young and our families are still very close. We went to secondary school together and played on the same football team – I’d always go round to his after matches and we’d have takeaways. We were really, really close.
Jordan was 11 when was diagnosed with HLH (Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis), which is a blood disease. He needed a high dose of steroids and chemotherapy, but that wasn’t helping to cure it so he had to have a bone marrow transplant. He got that from his sister, they were a 99.9% match - it was crazy.
We then thought that was it, that everything would get back to normal – he seemed better and he was back at school. Then in November 2015 he was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, which is a secondary cancer that he developed because of the previous harsh treatments that made his immune system low. He was treated on Teenage Cancer Trust wards at both Alder Hey and Clatter Bridge Hospitals.
He went through chemotherapy and a big operation, and then in July 2016 he had to go to America for Proton Beam Radiotherapy treatment for 3 months. The community really came together to help raise funds for the family. Jordan’s family is quite a big name in the local community now because of what’s happened – the community are so supportive when it comes to Jordan and the family. I never wanted the family to think they were alone throughout this journey - they’ve got so much support it’s ridiculous.
In January 2017 Jordan went for a scan and they all thought it was going smoothly and that he was getting clear of the cancer, so we were all obviously really happy, and thought that “Jord will be back now, he’s already beaten it twice!”. But then the cancer came back in 3 different areas in his body. He started a trial of drugs, but he’d had too much, his immune system was just too weak.
Two days before he died I decided I wanted to do something to raise awareness for Teenage Cancer Trust, because Jordan was a teenager and he had cancer - it felt like the right thing to do. I started the application for the London marathon that day but didn’t have time to finish it. Two days later, on 27th April 2017, I found out my best mate had passed away, and that spurred me on even more to do the marathon. That’s what fired me up, ready for it. I just want to raise money for Jord and for Teenage Cancer Trust as they helped him through his cancer journey.
We’ve set a charity up in his memory called Giddo’s Gift. Giddo’s Gift was set up to keep Jordan’s memory alive and help teenagers in Wales and the North West region of England suffering with cancer. All my funds raised are going to Teenage Cancer Trust and Giddo’s Gift.
Mine and Jordan’s friends and family have said they’ll all be at the finish line cheering the loudest for me, so that’ll keep me going!