Adam O
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Tom's marathon effort in support of brother diagnosed with blood cancer

Adam O
Posted by
30 Mar 2015

Tom Lerner is preparing to push himself to the limit next month by taking part in the Virgin London Marathon for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.

Tom, 27, is taking part in the marathon on 26 April after his brother Josh (23) was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in October 2013. During a year studying chemistry in Spain for his Master’s degree, Josh was complaining that he wasn’t feeling quite right. He had severe arm pain, was losing weight unexpectedly and suffered night sweats. A week after his graduation his cancer was diagnosed.

He immediately started chemotherapy treatment and has had three increasingly aggressive chemotherapy regimens so far. He had scans after each regimen, but every time there was still some residual cancer which meant it would relapse if left untreated and therefore is due to undergo a stem cell transplant in the next few weeks.

Tom, who is a tuberculosis research scientist at The Francis Crick Institute, said: “I realised soon after Josh was diagnosed that there was nothing I could actually do to help, except to support him and unfortunately I wasn’t a stem cell match. I felt terrible that he was suffering and there was nothing I could do. I then realised that there are indirect ways to help, so I successfully entered the ballot for a charity place in the London Marathon to raise money for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.

“I chose this charity because it funds scientific research into improving diagnosis and treatments for blood cancers. As a scientific researcher I know that although research is a very time consuming, difficult and expensive thing to do, it is the only way that cures will be found.

“On race day, I am really looking forward to being part of something special. Taking part in the world’s most famous marathon, in the city I was born, is definitely something to tick off my ‘bucket list’. The marathon is about the time Josh should be released from hospital following his stem cell transplant; it will be the finishing line for us both. I have all the inspiration I need to keep running once I hit the ‘wall’ knowing that the pain I will be in is nothing compared to what he has endured for so long. I’m sure it will be an emotional moment for us all.”

Matt Lawley, Head of Sports Events at Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, said: “We are constantly inspired by the stories of those fundraising for us and everyone at Leukaemia & Lymphoma research wishes Tom good luck with the Virgin London Marathon. Every penny raised for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research will help us in our mission – stopping people from dying and making patients’ lives better.”

To support Tom please visit his Virgin Money Giving page

Since he was diagnosed with lymphoma, Josh also writes a regular blog called “Livin With Lymphoma” which has had more than 100,000 visitors. 



Incredible story!

Wishing Josh all the best on Sunday week - I'll be there to cheer him on!