A Sutton Coldfield personal trainer is set to raise hundreds of pounds for the HELP Appeal by running the London Marathon in April.
Raul Romero decided to run the event for one of his clients after hearing her heartbreaking story and to raise funds for the only charity in the country dedicated to funding hospital helipads.
Raul was training Lesley Knight last year when she told him how she had lost her only child Tom, aged 11, in a road accident, and had since been doing all she could for the charity.
The 39-year-old, who owns the lichfield based Ambition Personal Training, decided he wanted to help too, and so has trained relentlessly for the 26 mile run to honour his promise to help Lesley and raise money for the HELP Appeal.
Lesley, now a HELP Appeal ambassador, has taken inspiration herself from Raul’s sessions in getting fitter and stronger and said she was touched by his commitment to the cause, even in the snow.
“When my son was airlifted by air ambulance to the hospital, they had to land at a police station opposite – it was the closest place at the time.
“As you can imagine a huge crowd of people gathered to see the air ambulance. It was the most harrowing experience anyone can go through as I did not want them to see Tom being wheeled into the hospital. The slick operation of getting us to hospital was let down by the fact we had to land on the road as there was no helipad on site.”
Unfortunately, the hospital staff were unable to help Tom as his injuries were too severe and he passed away.
“I train Lesley every week in my classes, yet I never knew that she lost her only child until recently. It’s truly heartbreaking, no mother should have to go through that. She is an incredible and very inspiring woman to not only myself, but to my other clients too and everyone she meets.
“When I found out, I knew straight away I had to support her in my own way, so when I heard of the HELP Appeal, it was the perfect match to then run the London Marathon along the way.
“I have been training for it over the last few weeks, and even when it snowed I was out running. Knowing that every step would be for her, inspired me to go out and continue. I am looking forward to seeing her along the route and giving her a big hug at the end. I am asking all my other clients who know her and friends to also help raise the money.
“Helipads save time and save lives so hopefully everything I raise can go towards building the next one – it could save someone’s life.”
The HELP Appeal has already built 20 hospital helipads across the UK and another 24 are in the pipeline.
Over 7,600 critically ill patients have now landed on HELP Appeal funded helipads, which are built as close to the emergency department as possible to give the patient access to emergency care immediately and increase their chances of survival.
To sponsor Raul and help him reach his target of £800, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/RaulRomero