LEEDS and Great Britain rugby league legend Jamie Peacock MBE is set to tackle this year's Virgin Money London Marathon to raise cash for the Leeds hospice that cared for his late father.
Jamie's father Darryl, 59, was cared for at Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice in Headingley before his death from lung cancer in September 2013.
Darryl was told he had less than three months to live when he was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in November 2011.
He was determined to fight the disease and underwent several gruelling chemotherapy treatments and visited the day therapy unit at Wheatfields Hospice.
Darryl stayed in Wheatfields Hospice several times as his condition deteriorated.
Jamie, who visited the hospice today (April 11), said: “It felt like the staff really cared. They were outstanding through a horrible time."
Jamie wrote on his fundraising page: "Its a incredible place with wonderful staff who make a very difficult stage of anyone's life easier to deal with.
"Given the amount of pain my dad went through with his cancer which spread all over his body including his brain and he didn't moan once.
"I think the marathon is one of the closest acts I can complete to put myself through and try to walk one foot step in the difficult journey he went on before passing away."
Jamie added: “Dad was a great bloke, honest and very patient with time for everyone. Dad died in Wheatfields as was his wish. I’m continuing to fundraise to ensure
the resources are there to keep Wheatfields supporting local people.”
Jamie, who ran the 2017 London Marathon to help Wheatfields Hospice, is aiming to complete this year's event on April 28 in under 3 hours 30 minutes.
He said: "After retiring from pro-sport I just don't have the highs and satisfaction I used to have from pushing myself to my physical and mental limits, so to take on a marathon again in front of a huge crowd is something I can't wait to do.
“It’s going to be tough but I’ll be thinking what my dad went through and dig deep.”
Kate Bratt-Farrar, Sue Ryder Wheatfield hospice director, said: "Jamie is so incredibly supportive of sue Ryder Wheatfields.
"We couldn't do what we do without the support of him and others like him.
To sponsor Jamie, visit his fundraising page at: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/jamie-peacock-Darryl-Peacock/3