A FATHER has passed the fundraising baton to two friends who will run the London Marathon to raise money in memory of his late daughter.
Eugene Wilson has run five London Marathons and one New York Marathon since he lost his daughter Lisa to leukaemia in 2005.
Lisa was 22 when she died, just months after she married college sweetheart Gary Hargreaves. She had put up a brave fight and Eugene had even been identified as a match for a life saving transplant but Lisa contracted an infection that turned out to be fatal before the operation could be carried out.
As the deadline for next year’s London Marathon loomed, Eugene decided it was time to take a rest from running and looked around for another challenge to sink his teeth into. He came up with the decidedly non-restful idea of walking the Great Wall of China in October 2013.
Thoughts of running were behind him, but the Noble’s Hospital paediatric unit manager hadn’t factored in friends Simon Trenholme and Tim Dunne, who had watched his marathon efforts over the years. The pair put their heads together and decided to take on the feat in April themselves. As Eugene has done time and again, they will raise money for Athony Nolan, a charity that uses its register to match donors willing to donate their blood stem cells to people who desperately need lifesaving transplants.
‘The boys went away on a trip together and when they came back they said to me “we’ve been talking about you”,’ explained Eugene. ‘They said if I was happy with it they were going to run the marathon. I was quite touched by that, and slightly choked. They said to me “we’d like to keep it going, you’ll be passing the baton on to us”.’
The pair - who are calling their challenge Passing Lisa’s Baton - also told Eugene other friends were queuing up to take on the challenge in the coming years. ‘There was a big lump in my throat,’ he said. ‘I’ve known them for years, we played football for a while. Simon is a local boy and Tim is a fellow Evertonian so we go to the match together. He also works in the health services.’
Simon and Tim have begun raising sponsorship for the marathon, while Eugene will begin his Great Wall of China fundraising in earnest soon. If you would like to support Simon and Tim’s efforts, you can visit their dedicated fundraising web pages: