A Scots dad will run the Edinburgh Marathon and raise funds for life-saving treatment for a young boy with a stage four brain tumor – a year to the day his own son was diagnosed with the same disease.
Brave Martin Bryce will take on the 26-mile challenge exactly one year on from the “horrific” day he was told his then eight-year-old son, Leo, had a pea-sized lump in his skull that was cancerous.
The dad-of-two, whose son has since been given the all-clear, has told how he felt compelled to help eight-year-old Rudi Abbott after hearing that there was nothing more the NHS could do for him.
Martin, from Edinburgh, told the Record: “My wife and Rudi’s mum were colleagues in an old job so happened to know each other.
“When our son, Leo, was receiving treatment in hospital, we bumped into Rudi’s mum.
“They were going through exactly the same treatment so it was pure chance that we had bumped into her.
“When we heard that there was nothing more that the NHS could do, it knocked us out.
“We saw the run was taking place on May 29 – a year to the day that Leo was diagnosed – so I said straight away, I can’t not do it.
“For me, there was no thinking about it, it was just a case of, how can I make sure this boy gets the funds he needs and what can I do to help him?”
Rudi, also from Edinburgh, was just six when he began suffering from a sore head and blurred vision and it emerged tot had a rare tumor in the center of his brain.
Medics began the schoolboy’s treatment almost immediately following his diagnosis.
Rudi underwent major surgery then grieving chemo and radiotherapy sessions to remove the disease from his skull.
But, just as the youngster began to feel like his “amazing and funny self” again, the cruel cancer had returned.
With NHS options now minimal, his family is trying desperately to raise £250,000 to pay for treatment in the US.
Martin, 41, said: “We found out about the urgent need for funds for Rudi’s treatment and it was almost like there was no better way for me to add value to this situation.
“The fact we have a connection to this family with similar timelines and in terms of the local area, I just had to get involved. It just seemed like the obvious and natural thing to do to try and help.”
Leo was rushed to hospital in May last year after he too began to feel unwell with a sore head, dizziness and blurred vision.
Martin said that there had been “no warning signs” prior to his son’s diagnosis.
“It was a complete shock to the family,” he said.
“There were no warning signs or indications that there was anything wrong with him until the day before we took him to hospital.”
The father has described the months following his child’s diagnosis as “absolute hell” as Leo underwent intensive chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
He said: “It was a really, really tough time and a horrific week when he was diagnosed. My family is my absolute world – they are all I care about.
“We soon realized it wasn’t just Leo going though absolute hell – it was our younger son too. Even last week, he had nightmares about it.
“To see my seven-year-old boy crying in the middle of the night is heartbreaking.
“I was worried sick, but I did maintain a strong sense of positivity and enthusiasm throughout. I’m a glass-half-full kind of guy and I am very positive but that is something I had to call on a lot last year.
“I knew Leo would be okay and I refused to let anybody tell me otherwise.”
Martin has launched an online fundraiser where all donations will be put towards Rudi’s treatment in America.
To donate, visit here.
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