|Grandfather runs 800 miles for charity|
As thousands of wannabe marathon runners find out if they have secured a place on next year’s Flora London Marathon, charities are gearing up to offer places to those rejected.
One charity, the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability, is hoping to find charitable athletes to complete with it’s longest standing runner, 58 year old hospital storekeeper Lolo Leyanda, who has independently raised over £30,000, by running around 800 miles.
The grandfather, who has worked full time in the catering department of the hospital in Putney for 32 years, has spent the last 18, running up sponsorship to help the hospital’s 240 patients, and has recently been awarded the hospital’s ‘Unsung Hero Award’ for all his hard work.
At 58, the charitable veteran,
The avid runner attributes his stamina to a healthy diet, training five times a week and being motivated by patients at the hospital where he works.
He says, “Almost all of the patients at the hospital are wheel chair bound and have limited control of their body - some can only move their eyes.
“To see first hand how one day you can be living your life as normal, and the next - have the freedom of movement taken away from you - motivates me to run year after year.”
Dierdre spends around four months each year, collecting money for Lolo from staff, visitors and conference goers in the hospital reception, as well as writing to hundreds of celebrities and asking for their support.
She says “It is mostly local businesses and individuals who sponsor Lolo but I also write to celebrities and we have had support from some really interesting people like Graham Norton, Stephen Fry and Michael Heseltine.
“Now Lolo has signed up to do next year’s marathon, I’ll be starting my campaign for support again!”
The Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability is a national charity, not funded by the NHS, which assesses and rehabilitates adults with traumatic brain injuries and provides long term care for people with severe neurological conditions, for example cerebral palsy.
October 19, 2005