An Olympic torchbearer is cycling the length of the UK in memory of his close friend who died of blood cancer.
And on the route from Land's End to John O'Groats, Dom Goggins, 27, from Greater Manchester, is set to make an emotional detour to visit his friend's grave in Astley.
Steven Blears died of leukaemia in 2003 at the age of 19. Since that time, Dom has run 15 marathons and run from coast to coast in his memory, raising more than £16,000 for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.
Dom said: “I’ve never attempted anything like this before. I’ve been training really hard but I know that 900 miles in 7 days is going be really tough. But this kind of pain is nothing compared to watching your friend suffer like Steven had to, and if this campaign can help to stop that happening to other people, it is absolutely worth it.”
After carrying the Olympic Flame in London on the eve of the Games in recognition of his efforts, Dom launched a new campaign, Leading Light, which aims to raise £1million for the charity between the London and Rio Olympics. On the fourth day of his fundraising ride, a 120-mile slog from Whitchurch in Shropshire to the Lake District, Dom will take an emotional detour to visit Steven’s grave in Astley. He will lay a London Marathon medal on his friend's grave before joining forces with Steven's father Graham, to ride the next few miles together.
He said: "Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research does amazing work to make sure people are diagnosed quickly and accurately, improving treatment and sharing their unique understanding of blood cancers to save lives around the world. But they need our help, and that’s what the Leading Light campaign is about. It’s not about me, or any individual, it’s about everybody. I really want people to come together to run, cycle or swim with me over the next four years, or do their own thing to become part of it.
"This challenge is just the beginning, but being able to pause for a moment at Steven’s grave, and share a few miles with his Dad, means a lot to me and is a good way to kick things off. If he had survived he’d be raising money for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research – he’d probably be doing this bike ride with me – and he’s been with me for every step of every marathon and every mile in training.
“I want the Leading Light campaign to be part of his legacy, helping people with blood cancers right now and working towards a world without leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma. I’m not going to stop until that day comes.”
Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research supporters around the country will be along the route to cheer Dom on. He will be blogging all the way and you can follow his progress and donate to the cause here as well has cheering him on through Twitter @domgoggins and #LeadingLight