Running for Renly

David, a schoolteacher from Bath, took on the Bath Half Marathon 2019 in memory of his nephew, Renly.

Meet David and his nephew, Renly

“The staff at GOSH were an amazing support network for our family; through the most difficult time, they were the best they could have been,” says David, from Bath.

David ran the Bath Half Marathon last March in memory of his nephew, Renly, raising an incredible £2,790 for GOSH Charity.

At just two years old, David’s nephew, Renly, was diagnosed with high-risk neuroblastoma, a rare children’s cancer. “Renly had developed a large tumour which was aggressive and grew quickly, resulting in numerous complications.

David's nephew, Renly

“Renly’s light burned bright. He was an amazing little boy that fearlessly ran at life. He was a cheeky little monkey and a fantastic brother to his awesome sister, Phoebe.”

Renly spent just under five weeks at GOSH receiving chemotherapy, before he sadly passed away in January 2019.

“He was a brave little boy that had a huge mountain to climb for someone so small and ill,” says David. “The kindness that my family experienced at GOSH was out of this world and no words could ever explain how grateful we are to everyone who works there.”

Running for Renly

In March 2019, David took on the Bath Half Marathon. “I felt like I wanted to put a positive spin on a bad situation,” explains David. “Training for the Bath Half Marathon acted as a therapy for me, it helped me through a very difficult time.

David preparing for the Bath Half Marathon on the day

“I was born and bred in Bath, so it made sense to fundraise with the Bath Half Marathon. Having my friends and family there on the day was so important to me and this location made that possible.

“It’s the people in Bath more than the buildings. There are so many people there to cheer you on – it was hugely motivating and gave such a community feel to the run. With all the bands playing, music follows you around the course.”

Fundraising for GOSH Charity

“While we started small, we suddenly thought, ‘why don’t we try and raise as much as we can?’” says David. “We did everything we could to share my story and raise money for GOSH Charity.

As a teacher, David shared his story in the school newspaper. The village newspaper shared his fundraising mission too.

“In a way, I felt better because people knew about the difficult time my family and I were going through.

“My friend read my story and decided to run a little quiz night, donating the entirety of the money raised to my fundraising. Just little things like that meant so much.

“I was absolutely amazed by the generosity of people who didn’t even know me, people who supported me because Renly’s story resonated with them and because they wanted to help other children like him.

“You’d be surprised just how much you can raise when you share why it matters to you."

On the day

“It was a little overwhelming on the day because you feel like you’ve done the training all on your own and suddenly thousands of people are cheering you on, calling out the name on your jersey and Renly’s name too,” says David, remembering his half marathon.

“I’d been down with a foot injury prior to the run and I was a little bit nervous, but I was so determined to complete it."

David with his daughter, Rosie (right) and his niece, Phoebe (Renly's sister) (left).

David with his daughter, Rosie (right) and his niece, Phoebe (Renly's sister) (left) after the Bath Half Marathon.

“The last mile was very hard, but finishing the course was hugely important to me. The feeling of achievement didn’t click when I crossed the finish line, not until I saw my sister and brother-in-law in the crowd.

“Seeing Renly’s mum and dad, it hit me then, the reason I’d done it in the first place, the reason it mattered so much. That’s when I registered the scale of my achievement and to know that my fundraising efforts were potentially helping other people overcome difficult circumstances, that meant a lot.”

Inspired by David’s story? Why not sign up for the Great North Run, the biggest half marathon in the world? Your fundraising will help support patients like Renly and their families.