When John Kennedy of the South Ribble Ward, Preston Stake received the devastating news that his six year old grandson K had been diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia and required intensive chemotherapy treatment, he decided to do something to help. A resident of Utah, USA, where not all of his medical costs are covered by insurance, K faces a three year battle with the illness before he can hope to be given the all clear, and grandad, John, hatched a plan to assist with the treatment costs.
Despite being an ME sufferer and having had recent surgery himself, John decided to raise funds by completing a 20-mile sponsored walk from the Preston Temple grounds in Chorley to Whitefield in nearby Ashton Stake, where K’s mum was raised. With the aid of a cross trainer, John gradually built up his fitness and stamina levels until he was able to walk between 8 and 9 miles a day, usually around three time a week, in preparation for his trek.
“When it got tough, I just kept thinking about my goal to do the walk,” explained John, whose intensive training regime resulted in a nine stone loss for him. “Knowing that I was doing it for my grandson, and that he was depending on me kept me going.”
In perfect weather conditions, John completed the 20-mile hike on Saturday 11th June, in a little under 10 hours and is extremely grateful for the prayers and support he received, particularly from his two daughters, Joy Kennedy and Meg Hyde, who helped him through the last few miles of the walk. In addition, family, friends and Church members on both sides of the Atlantic have been involved in a number of fund-raising activities - including the ‘Race for Life’ and car boot sales - which have resulted in a total of over £1,000 being raised so far.
K’s anticipated three year fight against his illness means that ongoing funds will be required to help pay for his treatment. Brother Kennedy is already planning his next venture.
“I’m thinking of completing a Marathon or something similar next year. I’m not a runner, so I’m planning on doing it with Nordic style walking poles!”