Running for Dad and to improve treatments for kidney patients
A Derby theatre producer is ready for the show to go on by running the 2021 London Marathon in memory of his dad who died of kidney disease.
Stuart Allen, 37, was prepared and ready for the 2020 London Marathon, so when it was cancelled in the pandemic, he was not sure how to help.
Now, not only is he back in training to raise funds for Kidney Research UK for the 2021 marathon he has also joined the charity’s campaign, Transforming Treatments, to raise awareness of the urgent need for research to improve treatments for kidney disease.
Dad ill for most of my life
Stuart said: "Kidney Research UK is a charity close to my heart after Dad died - kidney failure was one of the contributing factors. Research is vital to find ways to progress medical treatment for people like my dad and the thousands of others who suffer.
"My dad was ill for a lot of my life, but he never gave up and took everything that was thrown at him on the chin, with a smile and bags of positivity. He even managed to carry on gardening after going blind.
“When the 2020 marathon was cancelled and everywhere went into lockdown, I thought of Dad. If he could remain so upbeat in life, then so could I.
“I can’t wait to run. I know it will be emotional. Dad was a county runner in his younger years, so I really want to make it special in his honour.”
Stuart’s dad John died at the age of 75 in 2019.
A county runner in the 1950s, John was unable to take the sport further because in post-war Britain his parents couldn't afford the training to take up the sport seriously - Stuart will instead run the 26.2 miles in his memory.
John went blind overnight with no warning, due to diabetes. Stuart was a young boy at primary school but remembers how one Sunday night his dad went to bed as usual, but the next morning he woke up saying he couldn't see properly. By Monday John was blind.
Dad was so ill but never lost his smile
"Our lives were turned upside down," Stuart said. "Mum became his carer, which was hard as Dad was the driver. Our household changed in an instant.
"Dad had to have a toe amputated, had sepsis numerous times and had a catheter. He had a guide dog which gave him some freedom but his saving grace was that he was a very positive man so he would still manage to do his gardening.
“Not once through any of this, did he ever lose his positivity or focus. He was so chipper and inspirational, he never complained, was never sad or miserable.”
By 2015, John began to lose kidney function and became ill, so he began dialysis.
Can't wait to run
Unfortunately, kidney failure is common in people with diabetes. Stuart wanted to offer his dad a kidney to give him a second chance at life.
“I would have done anything to help him but sadly he was so poorly with other health issues the doctors said surgery would be too much for him."
The family was devastated when in May 2019 Stuart's dad John collapsed and died in his beloved garden, despite CPR attempts by Stuart’s mum and their neighbour.
"If I am out training in the rain, sleet or snow and don't feel like doing it, I think of Dad and his positivity and that keeps me going. I can’t wait to do him proud, be part of the London Marathon buzz, a team effort of 40,000 people, all running to make a difference. I can't wait for my time."
To find out more about our Transforming Treatments campaign follow the link
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