A CNC Authorised Firearms Officer (AFO) based at Dungeness has completed an 81km endurance event as part of his efforts to raise money for a seriously ill 5-year-old boy to travel to America for treatment.
PC Gareth Ward completed the X-treme NRG 9bar 9x9 Super Ultra Marathon in Guildford on 10 October, completing 81km of the trail run and lap event in a time of 12 hours 59 minutes!
Gareth completed the event to raise money for his friend’s son, 5-year-old Luke Brewer, who has recently been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Rabdomysocoma. Luke had been admitted to Great Ormond Street hospital to undergo treatment, however due to the rarity of Luke’s condition, it cannot be fully treated here in the UK so the fund raising efforts began to send Luke to America for treatment.
Thanks to his efforts, Luke and his family are now in Oklahoma and are three weeks into a 10 week trip where he is undergoing Proton Beam Therapy. Luke is doing very well and the signs are positive, however he is still at the early stages of his treatment.
As well as completing the endurance event, Gareth helped arrange a fun day in Grays, Essex, which saw a great turn out from the public as well as interest from some local celebrities – last year’s Britain’s Got Talent finalists, Old Men Grooving and this year’s Xfactor contestant, Louisa Johnson. He was also supported by Essex Police’s Roads Policing and Response Unit, who attended with one of their vehicles. The day proved very successful and raised over £6,000. Gareth was selling a range of superhero wristbands that he has designed, raising over £500.
Gareth has appeared on local radio in America and Canada to talk about his efforts and while on air, a member of the public called in and offered to pay for Luke and his family to attend Disneyland as a special treat once his treatment is completed. Gareth has also gained support from local fire and police departments in Oklahoma and arranged some VIP visits for Luke to visit and tour their facilities.
As well as support from his colleagues at CNC and other police forces across the country, Gareth has received assistance from the Police Federation of England and Wales, with PC Hayley Aley, who is the UK’s representative for Women in Policing, raising over £300.
Gareth said: “Until a few months ago Luke was a happy, healthy five-year-old and it is heart-breaking to see the change in him due to his illness. The cost of his treatment and the trip amounts to a significant figure and I was determined to do all I could to raise money to help pay for it.
“The endurance event was very tough and I massively underestimated just how challenging it would be. I was soon reminded of the ‘small’ challenge ahead about an hour in to my run! Nevertheless, I did not forget the reason why I was running in the first place and through sheer determination and complete stubbornness, I ran until I couldn’t feel my legs anymore! No amount of blood, sweat or tears was going to stop me and I’m so proud of what I have achieved.
“I would like to thank all those who have supported me in my efforts. Although I have reached my initial target of £2,500, I am not stopping there and will continue fund raising so Luke has the best possible chance of a full recovery and his family can concentrate on him and his care rather than how it will be paid for.
“My GoFundMe page is still live for anyone who is interested in finding out more about Luke and his family, purchasing a wristband, or making a donation towards his care.”