A Chester man is taking on the complete Bupa Great Run Series to raise money for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research after losing his father to leukaemia in 2002.
Steve Parker, 30, and brother-in-law Stephen Bell have each been dressing up as Bananaman to take on a total of eight runs which began with the 10k Great Manchester Run in May 2010 and will finish with the same event in 2011.
Steve’s dad, Eric Parker, was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia in 1998. He first underwent chemotherapy in 2002 and received one of the first stem cell treatments of its kind and at first it seemed that the treatment had been successful. But the leukaemia came back and later that year Eric lost his battle with the disease. He was 51 years old.
Steve says: “Watching dad go through all the treatments was difficult. He was in isolation a lot and seeing what happens to someone you love with this disease is awful.
To date, Steve and Stephen have successfully taken on the Great Manchester Run, the Great North 10k in Sunderland, the 10k Great Yorkshire Run in Sheffield and the Great North Run in Newcastle.
Steve came up with the idea of dressing as Bananaman because of Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research’s famous running team, the Banana Army; so called because of their bright yellow t-shirts. Steve’s Bananaman cape is emblazoned with the message ‘for Dad’.
He says: “The atmosphere at the Great Run events is incredible and it is an experience which has really touched me. The work that Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research do is so important especially as they receive no government funding. When you have a look at their website, it really is inspiring to see some of the incredible fundraising stories out there.”