On Sunday 8th August more than 30 runners joined Benny’s Poppyline Marathon run in memory of a brave little boy from East Runton in Norfolk who sadly lost his battle with cancer last year.
Benny Pitcher was just six year-old when he passed away in July 2020 after a 15 month fight against brain cancer. He was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) nine months prior – a type of tumour that starts in the brain stem.
His dad Kevin organised the event, which started at Sheringham Primary School, and finished at The Crown Pub. Kevin explained: “I made a promise to Benny in the last few days of his life that I would help the charities who supported him through his illness – this is me keeping that promise to my son. We’ve organised the day to celebrate his life and give back to those who have been there for us throughout.”
Benny’s Poppyline Marathon run raised money for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) and the Cromer Children’s Charity. Both charities supported Benny’s family during his illness – with EACH caring for Benny during his illness, supporting his whole family, and continuing to offer bereavement support.
Kevin continued: “We were originally going to run the Brighton Marathon for Benny, but it was cancelled because of Covid. This event is our way of celebrating Benny’s life and giving back to our local community and the charities who have shown us so much support and kindness at this horrible time. EACH were just fantastic, they cared for Benny through his illness and at the end of his life and continue to offer us emotional support now.”
In total 17 runners took part in the full marathon, with others joining for shorter distances along the way. They all crossed finish line together for an emotional ending.
“Benny was our superhero and seeing everyone in the streets celebrating him meant a lot to all of us. I have a tattoo on my leg which has Benny’s ashes mixed into the ink – so he was with me every step of the way. For the marathon we all started and finished together, there were no egos. A few of the lads struggled towards the end but we stayed as a group and as we crossed the finish line it was a special moment.”
Tim Jenkins, EACH Community Fundraiser, said: “We are so grateful to the Pitcher family for supporting EACH at this terrible time in their life. Sadly they know first-hand the difference the money they raise will make to local children with life-threatening conditions and their families. If you are in the area around the route on Sunday and can show your support then please do – anything you can give really will make a difference.”
Kevin added: “We want to raise as much as we can to support the charities who helped Benny and our whole family – our target is £10,000. If you can give anything it will make a real difference.”