Dean, 44, a Royal Engineer, said: “I’ve always wanted to run the London Marathon and this seemed like a perfect opportunity to give something back to CLIC Sargent who have supported us so much, and to inspire my son Sam into getting back into sport and to show him that anything is possible."
Although I have never ran a marathon before, I am not nervous about the race as I’ve been in the Army for 27 years so I am used to physical exercise and not a complete novice! Throughout the race if I need extra motivation I will think of Sam and the thought of him will pull me all the way to the end.”
Dean’s son Sam, 13, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) in August 2016 after Dean and his wife Jackie, 42, noticed Sam becoming really tired and lethargic.
“Sam was usually a really active kid- played lots of sport and loved football, so when he became tired and inactive we knew something wasn’t right. At first we thought it may have been glandular fever, so we took him to the doctors to get him checked.”
The doctors took a blood test on 8 August, and the day after Sam had to go into hospital and was diagnosed with leukaemia.
“It was all very instant and hard to comprehend for both us and him. Sam was 11 and was being taken into a teenage cancer ward so he knew what was going on.
"Nothing can prepare you for the diagnosis that your child has cancer it was like being hit with a sledgehammer.”
The family has received support from CLIC Sargent throughout, including a grant, and support from a CLIC Sargent social worker, who helped the family by explaining what Sam could expect during his next phase of treatment. They also organised for Sam to go on a sailing trip with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
“We received support from CLIC Sargent within a couple of days and our CLIC social worker Adama has been brilliant. Although she could not click her fingers and make things better, I can’t underestimate how important she has been to us. She was a huge help in explaining the next steps and guiding us on the path moving forwards.”
Since Sam’s diagnosis he has been receiving chemotherapy at the Queens Medical Centre which is due to finish in late 2019.
Laura Jade, Sports and Challenge Events Manager at CLIC Sargent, said: “When cancer strikes young lives we fight tirelessly to limit the damage it causes beyond their health through practical, emotional and financial support. We rely entirely on donations to fund our vital work and so we can’t thank Dean for their fantastic efforts.”
“This big challenge Dean is taking on will make a massive difference for young people with cancer by helping us ensure they are getting the right support they need.”
To sponsor Dean’s London Marathon effort, go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/dean-ross2