Executive chef, Ilya Fattakhov, aged 38, from London, lost his son Alexsei to cancer when he was eight years old.
He is running the Virgin Money London Marathon to raise money for CLIC Sargent, which provided support for him and his family.
Alexsei was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma on 3 January 2011. He underwent intensive chemotherapy and radiotheraphy over the next year, but the cancer was very aggressive. Sadly, Alexsei died on Sunday 24 June 2012.
During Alexsei’s treatment, the family was supported by a CLIC Sargent Social Worker who was able to give advice and emotional support. She also provided information and booklets about childhood cancer.
Ilya is running the Virgin Money London Marathon to raise money for CLIC Sargent, raise awareness of childhood cancer and in memory of Alexsei. He said: “When I train I find it quite peaceful and it makes me feel closer to my son.
I imagine I’ll feel tired at the end of the marathon... but I’ll feel like I’ve achieved something Alexsei would be proud of.
“I want to raise more awareness that children can have cancer so more people, including doctors, recognise the symptoms.
“I’d never run until I did 10k training a few months ago. I’ve been training in different countries including Dubai, where I was running in the desert, and then the other extreme in Moscow, where I was training in the snow and ice.
“I’m quite a determined person and when I set a goal I achieve it. I imagine I’ll feel tired at the end of the marathon but more importantly I’ll feel like I’ve achieved something Alexsei would be proud of.
"I’ve received two medals, one for a walk I completed while Alexsei was still alive and the other for a race with other bereaved fathers, and they are both on his grave. I’m looking forward to adding the marathon medal.”
Ilya is also a dad to Anabella, three, and Kai, 10 months.