Eddy and I have been best friends since we were 2 years old and, we’ve always been a dangerous combination. When we were 6 years old, we had a dispute over a basketball, which must have been the only time we have been enemies, but that lasted for about 30 minutes. Out of all the people in the world, the last person I would have thought would get blood cancer would have been my best friend. However, his fitness and health played such a huge part in fighting such a horrible disease and now, nearly two years later he’s set the task of competing in an ironman. When Eddy told me he wanted to compete in an ironman, I thought he was nuts, however it wasn’t so much of a surprise, as I know how determined he is when he asserts his mind to something. I think this is definitely an attribute Eddy has, and something which helped Eddy overcome such a life-threatening illness, along with courage and self-belief. Going to see Eddy at St. James’ Hospital in Leeds was a huge bag of mixed emotions. I was hugely worried all the time, but I knew I wanted and needed to be a happy distraction for Eddy. My highlight when visiting Eddy must have been keeping him awake all night whilst I snored very loudly in the early hours of the morning. I think this happened on more than one occasion. Teenage Cancer Trust made J94 a great environment to be in, especially the pool table which was where our first to 100 games win commenced.

As Eddy set himself the challenge of competing in an ironman, we both thought it would be a great idea to enter into a marathon together to serve as a transition in Eddy’s training. We always said we wanted to do a marathon together, and the timing was right, so we opted to go for Paris! With just under 3 weeks to go until race day, time has really flown by. We both can’t wait to charge the streets of Paris and raise money and awareness for Anthony Nolan and Teenage Cancer Trust!

Anthony Nolan are an incredible charity, who match incredible individuals willing to donate their blood stem cells or bone marrow to people who desperately need lifesaving transplants. They conduct ground-breaking research to improve the success rates of transplants and improve the lives of all people with blood cancer. They provide support, advice and information for people with blood cancer and their families. As soon as Eddy was aware of Anthony Nolan, he immediately reached out to social media to spread the word. By doing so this generated a great amount of traffic becoming aware of the great work Anthony Nolan do, every single day. Hoards of family, friends and friends of friends instantly joined the Anthony Nolan register. The process is remarkably quick, first you check the joining criteria, next you answer a few questions about your medical history, height and weight. Then, you send your contact details off and wait for a thumbs up back from your application. Anthony Nolan will send you a spit kit in the post, and all you need to do it spit in a small tube and send it back. Anthony Nolan will test your sample and put the results in their database. Every time someone needs a transplant, Anthony Nolan will automatically compare their tissue to yours – and the 600,000 other incredible individuals on their register. It must be one of the most simple ways to save someone’s life. I highly recommend you sign up today to really make a difference!

Tommy Hitchenor