A telecoms engineer from Dersingham is set to run the London Marathon in memory of his young son, who sadly passed away from leukaemia.
Stephen Eldridge and fiancée Odette Wood welcomed Callum to the world three weeks prematurely, on 4 October, 2012.
The family were transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, where they received 24-hour one-to-one care for 11 days.
It was there that they were also introduced to East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH).
EACH took over Callum’s care, transferring him and his family to its hospice in Quidenham before Callum sadly passed away on 16th October.
Stephen said: “Our last night together at Quidenham was so precious and EACH cared for our every need, allowing us to say our goodbyes in the peacefulness of the hospice.
“We’re so thankful to all the wonderful, compassionate staff we encountered on our journey. They’re all truly amazing people.”
The family, now including three-year-old Harriet, set up an online legacy page in Callum’s name and have since raised more than £35,000 for EACH, with the majority of that coming from an annual golf day that brings together over 100 players each year.
Stephen is hoping to raise at least £2,000 when he runs the London Marathon on 22 April. He is running four times a week in preparation, with his only previous experience of endurance events “a few wild stag dos”.
“When I took on this challenge I had no idea how hard it was going to be,” he said.
“I massively underestimated how far 26 miles is and the time and dedication needed for the long, cold, dark training. Not being a runner, I had no idea how complex it would be getting my body from zero miles to achieving and completing the London Marathon.”
Stephen is one of four runners with a place in the marathon for EACH and will be joined in competing for the charity by others who obtained spots in the public ballot. To show support for Stephen’s efforts go to https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SomeoneSpecial/CallumEldridge.