This Sunday, 23 April, Fight for Sight runner, Jude will be 18 years and six days old, and he’ll be taking on the iconic London Marathon to raise money for groundbreaking research into sight loss. Running alongside around 50,000 other runners, including his stepdad Nick, Jude will be the youngest male on the iconic 26.2 mile course.
Being active comes naturally to Jude. “I always enjoyed sports during childhood,” he explains, “it was very therapeutic post-bereavement; my dad passed away when I was 8.”
Following the death of Jude’s dad, his mum Paula joined a widows group, where she met Nick, also bereaved, who is now Jude’s step dad.
Though the two of them are now planning to run the marathon together on Sunday, they haven’t always been close. “Jude and I, we’ve struggled at times, you know, to really bond, really gel.” Nick reflects, “And, it’s been quite difficult for me to be some positive role model.”
Fortunately, they’ve found running has been a common ground that has helped the two build a strong relationship. Nick describes running with Jude as ‘lovely’; “I think the running has been a real positive, something we can connect about in our lives.” And they’ll be running on Sunday for an incredible cause.
Nick is registered as blind and has choroideremia, a condition characterized by progressive vision loss starting with impaired night vision. So, as well as helping them build a relationship, this marathon has enabled Nick and Jude to raise funds for Fight for Sight through the Tommy Salisbury Fund.
Nick himself has a long history with Fight for Sight. 11 years ago he participated in a cutting edge trial that was funded by Fight for Sight. “I had gene therapy at Oxford Eye Hospital. I was patient number three to have that treatment,” says Nick, who is clearly proud to be raising funds for potentially life-changing research in the field of sight loss.
So, the big question is, who will cross the finish line first? “For the time being, the old guy’s got a little bit of a lead on the young guy,” smiles Nick “but I am just waiting for years to catch up on me, and at that point, that will change over!”
Given Jude is aiming to complete the marathon in under three hours there might not be much in it…
Could you run to save sight and change lives with Fight for Sight and Vision Foundation next year?
Register your interest in running at the 2024 London Marathon by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 020 7620 2066.