Fundraising firefighters are raising money for a young cancer patient by taking on a mammoth 200 mile run – dressed in full fire kit.
On Friday the team of 13 firefighters from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) will run across the country from Newcastle to Leicester.
Running for Oliver
The route equates to nearly six million combined steps and will see the life-savers raise funds for eight-year-old Oliver Maw.
Football-mad Oliver has been battling a rare form of cancer since being diagnosed in February 2021 and is raising money for life-saving treatment in America. Oliver is from the Millfield area of Sunderland and has been raising money alongside triplet brothers Oscar and Owen. His uncle, Peter Wilson, is a Crew Manager at TWFRS and he and his colleagues have helped contribute to the £160,000 total raised by the family so far. But that is still £100,000 short of the total needed to help fund a life-saving vaccine to aid Oliver’s fight against neuroblastoma.
Peter isn’t able to take part in the run but will be cheering his TWFRS colleagues on when they set off from the Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle on Friday, and he is also hoping to be there at the finishing line.
Watch Manager Graeme Taylor, who works alongside him, will be joined by colleagues from Gateshead, Tynemouth, Gosforth, Barmston Mere, South Shields, Sunderland Central and Washington will be right by his side. Graeme said:
“Oliver is an inspiration to us all. He has had to overcome so much in his seven-years but if you meet him his smile is infectious and there is always a friendly wave to everyone.
“The firefighting blue light family always sticks together and it’s heart-warming to see everyone coming together to try and create a better life for Oliver.
“We are all proud to be running for such an amazing cause.”
Newcastle to Leicester
You might ask why Newcastle to Leicester?
Well back in October 2022 firefighters from Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service (LFRS) heard about Oliver’s fundraiser and wanted to do their bit.
They decided to take on a mammoth challenge, and ran from their Leicestershire base up to Newcastle in an impressive 30 hours.
Once they crossed the finishing line the firefighters handed over the charity baton to colleagues from TWFRS who happily accepted the return challenge.
The 13 North East firefighters will be setting off at 7.30am on Friday morning before arriving in Leicester city centre on Saturday afternoon where they will be reunited with their LFRS colleagues.
Thanks from Oliver
“Oliver’s bravery matched with the generosity of our fellow firefighters at Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service has totally inspired us to pick up the baton and quite literally help the crews to run for Oliver’s life.”
Oliver, who is an avid Sunderland AFC fan and last week received a good luck message from Black Cats star Luke O’Nien, will also cheer the runners on. The brave eight-year-old said: “I just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who is trying their best to try and get me better.
“I can’t wait to be able to have a proper kick about with my brothers and friends and not have to worry about my treatment.
“You are all just the best! Ha’way the lads and lasses.”
Let’s try and get Oliver and his family over the fundraising finishing line and please turn out where you can to cheer the TWFRS firefighters along their journey!