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23 Apr 2021 Community

Meet our Virgin Money London Marathon runner!

Taking on the Virgin Money London Marathon to help The Kirkwood Support Life this October, Damian Cameron is determined to surpass the £2,500 sponsorship target in memory of his colleague, Mat Wood.

Damian Cameron is a member of the Cleckheaton Firefighter team and along with his colleagues, he spends his working days supporting his local community and helping others wherever he can.

But in 2013 when colleague and friend, Mat Wood, was diagnosed with terminal cancer, Damian and the team suddenly found themselves in a situation like no other when they were unable to help.

Reflecting on the difficult time, Damian said: “Mat was diagnosed with terminal cancer back in 2013 and at the time when he was poorly, we didn’t really know what to do. He didn’t tell us initially, but after having a couple of weeks off sick he came into the station one evening with his wife. They came hand in hand and instantly we knew something was wrong.

“When he told us, you could almost see everyone go flat. No one knew what to do. Wherever we go, whatever incident we go to, we can always do something. But this time, for once, we were unable to help.

“It was towards the end when The Kirkwood came and supported him. He started visiting as a day-patient and was eventually admitted to the In-Patient Unit. We all visited a couple of times and it was then that we realised what The Kirkwood did for him.

“He passed away on the 11th May 2015, aged just 44 years old. We’ve donated to have his name on a few of the bricks in the garden and taken part in the Midnight Memory Walk but we’ve never properly raised funds for The Kirkwood.

 

“The Kirkwood is an essential service. It’s important to have the end of life care that they provide. I think the vast majority of us will have people in our families that will need them, it’s a cause that affects everybody and every family will experience needing somewhere like The Kirkwood.”

After seeing promotions for a place in the Virgin Money London Marathon to support The Kirkwood, Damian immediately knew it would be the perfect way for the team to honour Mat.

“When I saw this opportunity, I thought it’d be great. For me personally because I’ve always wanted to complete the London Marathon. But it’s also a good opportunity to raise funds for The Kirkwood and get my team at work involved for Mat too.

“Fundraising was an outlet for us when Mat was poorly, it kept us occupied and it was something to show Mat what we were doing for him. We’ve been saying that we really need to do something for The Kirkwood so now we can.

“We’ve got lots planned for fundraising. Initially, we’ve got the wheels in motion to do some car washes at Cleckheaton Fire Station. We’ve had discussions about a bike ride over to Scarborough from either Cleckheaton or the headquarters in Birkenshaw. Someone suggested we do an evening-do at the station so we have quite a few ideas. As a group, we always come up with something. I’m more than confident that we’ll surpass the target of £2,500.”

Damian plans on spending the next five months training and fundraising ready for the London Marathon on Sunday 3rd October. You can keep up to date with the Damian's training and fundraising on his Virgin Money Giving page by clicking here.

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