Runner set for ‘virtual London marathon’ for love of three-year-old Sienna
PUBLISHED: 19:00 09 September 2020
Runner Stuart Service is preparing for a “virtual London marathon” through Hadleigh, for the love of his three-and-a-half-year-old great-niece.
Mr Service had been training to run the London Marathon in aid of two charities which helped Sienna Seeley, from Walsham le Willows, who was born with a rare heart condition.
When this year’s event was cancelled due to coronavirus, except for elite runners, entrants were given the opportunity to run a “virtual marathon” instead.
The 53-year-old, who runs The Gables bed and breakfast, has decided to run 26 miles around his home town on October 3.
“I will be joined by 26 brave friends and family members who are each going to run one of the 26 miles with me,” he said.
“I am doing it to raise money for two very deserving causes which have helped Sienna, the Evelina Children’s Hospital in London and the Bumblebee Children’s Charity in Suffolk,” Mr Service said.
Mr Service has run the London Marathon over the last three years and raised nearly £30,000 for good causes.
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He said: “It’s a shame the marathon can’t go ahead this year, but with everything else that’s happening there are much bigger issues,”
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“Sienna was born with a very rare heart condition called ALCAPA. This condition meant only half of her heart was receiving oxygen,” Mr Service said.
“The Evelina Children’s Hospital saved her life by giving her open heart surgery at three weeks old, when her heart was only functioning at 10%.
“She would not be here without the phenomenal treatment she received. The Evelina not only took care of Sienna but supported the whole family, in particular her parents Lindsey and Jack.”.
Bumblebee is a specialist group that helps children with physical difficulties learn important life skills in a fun and stimulating environment.
Mr Service said: “As a result of attending Bumblebee, Sienna has grown in independence and confidence and she is making progress learning to walk unaided.”
Among those who will be joining him on the run are his sister, Helen Seeley, Sienna’s grandma, and Will Petersen, a Bumblebee trustee.
Mr Petersen said: “Bumblebee is entirely privately funded, so any support is greatly appreciated, and Stuart has been a great supporter of Bumblebee.”
To donate, visit Mr Service’s JustGiving page.
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