Architect to start 40 challenges before 40 in memory of Yorkshire mum with 24-hour walk to childhood home

An architect is ready to start a series of 40 fundraising challenges in the coming years in memory of his Bradford-born mum with a 24-hour walk starting on Good Friday.

Alistair Randall, 36, has set himself the challenge of doing 40 challenges by his 40th birthday and will start on March 29, in the same week he turns 37.

He is raising funds for Myeloma UK, the only British charity focused on the blood cancer and ultimately hopes to collect more than £20,000 for the organisation.

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Judy Randall (nee Bastow), Mr Randall’s mother, passed away in 2019 aged 72 having been diagnosed with myeloma 18 months prior.

Alistair Randall is planning 40 charity challenges before he turns 40Alistair Randall is planning 40 charity challenges before he turns 40
Alistair Randall is planning 40 charity challenges before he turns 40

Originally born in Bradford in 1946, Judy trained in London as a pharmacist, overseeing the safe administration of medicine to patients. Her sister Pauline Robinson still lives in Bradford.

Mr Randall’s fundraising activities will officially begin with a 63 mile walk from his current residence in Greenwich to his birthplace and childhood home in Chichester that he expects to take 24 hours to complete.

The remaining 39 challenges are in the works, and are likely to include mucking out farm animals, competing in international fitness competition Hyrox and completing a skydive. Supporters will also be encouraged to suggest challenges.

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Judy Randall, who died in 2019, was originally from BradfordJudy Randall, who died in 2019, was originally from Bradford
Judy Randall, who died in 2019, was originally from Bradford

The fundraising series will culminate in Mr Randall’s 40th birthday on March 27, 2027, for which a celebration will be planned.

Judy met her husband Paul, from Birmingham, while the pair were studying in London in the 1960s. They moved to Chichester in 1983 for Paul’s work and settled there with their four children.

Alistair has practiced as an architect since leaving university, currently working at a London-based practice. He has worked on such projects as Paddington’s Elizabeth Line station, HS2 infrastructure and the redevelopment of Old Street underground station.

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He said: “I adored my mum. She was my favourite person in the world. In December 2017 mum was diagnosed with multiple myeloma and she passed away from the illness in July 2019. During this short time, the bravery with which she fought this cruel illness was truly remarkable. She never once complained despite the fact she was so often in pain and discomfort.

“So I want to pay tribute to my amazing mum. I also want to give back to Myeloma UK who were an invaluable source of advice and reassurance throughout mum’s illness.

“Knowing that your loved one has an incurable disease is obviously devastating and it was only made worse for us by how mystifying of an illness it is. Doctors were frequently unable to provide answers to our questions, which is just not a position you ever expect to be in. So, when we came across Myeloma UK, we were so grateful for the community of sufferers and families it introduced us to, and the insight we then had into how the disease progresses and what potential new treatments were being trialled. It really was a lifeline in what was otherwise quite a lonely and terrifying experience for our family.”

Myeloma occurs in the bone marrow and currently affects over 24,000 people in the UK.

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Despite being the third most common type of blood cancer, it is especially difficult to detect as symptoms - including back pain, easily broken bones, fatigue and recurring infection - are often linked to general ageing or minor conditions.

While it is incurable, myeloma is treatable in the majority of cases. Treatment is aimed at controlling the disease, relieving the complications and symptoms it causes, and extending and improving patients’ quality of life.

More than half of patients face a wait of over five months to receive the right diagnosis and around a third are diagnosed through A&E. By that point, many of them are experiencing severe or life-threatening symptoms.

Matt Wynes, Director of Fundraising at blood cancer charity Myeloma UK, said: “We can’t thank Alistair enough for his incredible support and for going above and beyond for the myeloma community.

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“We receive no core government funding for the work that we do so voluntary donations, fundraising and gifts in wills are the lifeblood of Myeloma UK. It’s thanks to supporters like Alistair that we can continue to fund vital research into new treatments, and ultimately a cure, as well as essential support services for patients, their families, and those affected by myeloma.”​​​​​​​

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