Liam, 17: I’m doing half marathon in memory of my pal
Published on: 28 Feb 2016
A YEAR ago, Liam Bermingham was recovering from cancer treatment and preparing to sit his GCSE exams at Mangotsfield School.
This month, he will take part in the Bath Half Marathon - and there’s little doubt he will complete the 13.1-mile course.
“I’ll finish it – I’ll walk if I have to,” he said.
Two factors drive Liam’s determination: his own return to health and the memory of his best friend Jack Banks’s brave battle with leukaemia, which ended in Jack’s death in 2008 at the age of nine.
Liam, 17, is taking part in the half marathon with his dad Pete and cousin Conor, 20, to raise money for Jack’s charity, which supports Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Appeal for Bristol Children’s Hospital.
Also running will be Jack’s mum Paula Banks, who set up Jack’s Star Tribute Fund with her family to help the hospital where he was treated.
She said: “It is amazing that Liam is doing this. We are all so proud of him and can’t wait to see him cross that finishing line.”
The two families have been friends ever since Paula and Liam’s mum Sally, who lives in Kingswood, met at ante-natal classes when they were expecting their first sons, Joe and Michael.
A couple of years later, they found they were both expecting again and Liam and Jack were born within weeks of one another.
“We spent a lot of time together at weekends and holidays and Jack loved to have visits from Liam when he was in hospital,” said Paula, from Downend.
Liam was diagnosed with brain cancer at Christmas 2014 and had a small operation, followed by radiotherapy. Thankfully, the treatment was successful and a scan revealed he was cancer free.
He went on to achieve an excellent set of A, B and C grades in his exams and is now studying accounting and business at St Brendan’s Sixth Form College.
“I was given the best news ever. The cancer was gone!” Liam wrote on his JustGiving fundraising page.
“I am extremely grateful and will be for the rest of my life, however some children aren’t as fortunate in these situations and that is why me and my dad have decided to take part in the half marathon.”
He added: “I want to do this in memory of captain Jack himself, who I love and will never forget xxx”
Jack’s Fund has raised more than £130,000 for the children’s hospital. Some of the money pays for Captain Jack’s treasure chests – pirate-themed toyboxes of gifts for children undergoing unpleasant treatments.
Liam played football when he was younger and enjoys golf, but had not done any running before he began training for the half marathon.
“I needed to lose weight and I wanted to raise money for charity,” he told Downend Voice.
“I really want to accomplish this and I will feel proud of myself if I do.”
To support Liam, go to https://www.justgiving.com/Liam-Bermingham/
Pictured above: Liam and Paula aim to raise lots of cash for Jack’s Fund