THERE was a heroes’ welcome for the father of a one-year-old eye cancer sufferer as he completed a 192-mile-run to help fight the disease.
Billy White and his friend Chris Wright, both from York, ran coast to coast in just a week to raise money for the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust, which has helped care for Billy’s 14-month-old son Walter.
They completed their run in Robin Hood’s Bay on Saturday – and promptly celebrated with pints of Yorkshire ale, fish and chips a paddle in the North Sea.
Billy, 32, said the run had been tough but he and Chris had raised more than £6,000 to help sufferers of retinoblastoma, which affects only one in 20,000 children.
They were joined for the final stretch of the run by friends and relatives, and greeted at the end by Walter, mum Christin, and grandmother Gail Cook, from Copmanthorpe.
“It was emotional, especially to see Walter and everybody there at the end,” said Billy. “Everybody has been so good and we have raised so much money.
“Retinoblastoma is not something anybody has really heard of. It’s very rare. But all the health services we have had have been incredible and kept us up to date.”
The Press told earlier this month how Walter was diagnosed only after a routine eye-check by doctors in Sweden, where the family have been living.
The test is carried out in Sweden on all children aged six months, but it is not used in this country, meaning Walter’s condition may not have been spotted had the family been in England.
He has undergone six rounds of chemotherapy and many general anaesthetics and the tumours have now been removed, although Walter will need monthly check-ups for several years.
Chris, 30, said: “It has been overwhelming – a real adventure. It seems a lot longer than a week since we left.
“It’s great to arrive and to see so many familiar faces. The last couple of days have been a bit harder than we anticipated but we trained for seven months and it’s great to complete it.”
Billy’s mum Gail Cook, Walter’s grandmother, said: “I was really emotional; I cannot believe he has done it. I am very, very proud of them.”
To sponsor Billy and Chris, visit http://www.justgiving.com/billy-white-chris-wright
All money goes to the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust, which pioneers research and supports families of retinoblastoma sufferers.