Running 2000 miles for charity is no everyday feat for most people. However, for dad Mark Gallimore of Acomb, York, crossing the finish line on Sunday 19th March at the Spring Canal Extravaganza Marathon meant he had reached this extraordinary milestone in his ongoing fundraising journey for children’s cancer charity, Candlelighters.
Mark’s son, George, was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2013 at just two years old. Family life was turned upside down for the Gallimore family after they had taken George into the hospital, thinking he had a torn ligament from a fall, and instead received the life-altering news that he had cancer, and that Leeds General Infirmary were waiting for their arrival.
Mark told us:
The first week of treatment was a whirlwind… the support from the doctors and nurses was incredible. And then we were introduced to Candlelighters and that has started what will be the rest of my life fundraising for them.
George had daily chemotherapy and medication every four hours and battled through nine bouts of shingles. Incredibly, in November 2016, George was given the all-clear, although he still has yearly check-ups to ensure he remains this way.
The Gallimore’s created ‘Team George’ to fundraise for Candlelighters during George’s three-year treatment, raising over £43,000 since 2014. In September 2021, Mark completed his 100th challenge for the charity, and he has now taken part in over 150 events, including the Yorkshire Six Peaks, abseiling down Ripley Castle, and even walking barefoot on 15ft of Lego!
Candlelighters’ Community Fundraiser Becki Marren was at the marathon to cheer Mark on. She said:
Mark has been fantastic, and it was such a pleasure to be there at the finish line to welcome him back and help celebrate his 2000th mile run for Candlelighters. His commitment to fundraising for Candlelighters is incredible and the money he has raised has made such a difference to other children and families facing childhood cancer in Yorkshire. Mark and his family should be incredibly proud of everything they have done, we cannot thank them enough.
The money raised for Candlelighters goes towards supporting the families of children with cancer across Yorkshire. 150 families every year are given the devastating news that their child has cancer. With the support of people across Yorkshire, children’s cancer charity Candlelighters provides a vast range of emotional, practical, and financial support, including talking therapies for all members of the family, financial grants for parents who are struggling to work during their child’s treatment, and much-needed holidays for families to make memories together during a traumatic time. Candlelighters also fund vital childhood cancer research, with some results being observed internationally.
To support children like George and his family, Candlelighters relies on generous donations from the community. If you would like to support Candlelighters with a donation, you can do so here https://www.candlelighters.org.uk/