Friends to take on Children’s Cancer Run on day much-missed lad Drew Broderick would have turned 18

Friends and family of a South Shields teenager who died at just 14 in 2019 are taking on the special 40th anniversary Children’s Cancer Run on the day he would have turned 18.

Drew Broderick died after a four-year illness living with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. In his memory, family and friends corralled by Donna Heron have been taking part in a month’s worth of challenges, which will culminate on May 14. That’s both the date which would have seen Drew officially become an adult, and this year’s Children’s Cancer Run.

The 5k a Day Together for Drew challenge has involved around 50 people all taking part in 5k every day. Donations on JustGiving have already smashed an £800 target. The aim is to raise money for Children’s Cancer North – which organises the annual run and provides huge support and research funding to help with childhood cancer.

Read more: 40 years of the Children’s Cancer Run raising millions for kids with life-threatening illnesses

Donna’s son Dylan and Drew were close friends. She explained why the fundraiser was so important, saying: “I have so many wonderful memories of Drew, but one of the main things I like to remember is his sense of humour. He would always bring a smile to everyone’s face.

“If he ever came to sleep over at our house, he would always bring his beloved Sunderland A.F.C. duvet, just to annoy my son Dylan who’s an avid Newcastle United supporter. The boys would set up a second Xbox and monitor downstairs so they could play against each other in the same house; a tradition they continued for a long time.

Dylan Heron, Matty Faill, Fin Neary and Drew Broderick on their last day of Primary School
Dylan Heron, Matty Faill, Fin Neary and Drew Broderick on their last day of Primary School

“When we were thinking about a fundraising challenge, Dylan said it had to be something sporty because Drew was so active; he loved football, cycling, sledging, you name it….”

Drew himself even ran the Junior Great North Run while he was undergoing treatment for cancer.

Donna continued: “Drew’s mum, Kerry, wanted all the money raised to support local cancer charities; specifically charities that support childhood cancers. My son and I chose Children’s Cancer North because we knew the money raised would help people here in the North East.

“At the time of Drew’s treatment, everyone was surprised how little funding is directed to researching childhood cancer and how many children and young people are diagnosed every year. Helping to raise money and awareness is really important for all of us that knew and loved Drew.”

Chris Peacock, who chairs Children’s Cancer North and who survived cancer as a child himself, said: “Whilst survival rates for childhood cancer have increased, sadly it remains the number one cause of non-accidental death in young children in the UK. Funding revolutionary research and raising awareness of the disease is vital if we want to find new treatments that are less harsh, more effective, and make a difference for children.

“Thanks to amazing people like Kerry and Donna, our charity has been able to raise over £40m to support children with cancer in the North East and Cumbria since 1979. On behalf of everyone at Children’s Cancer North we’d like to wish everyone good luck in the challenge and thank Drew’s mum Kerry, and Donna, for supporting our charity and raising awareness of childhood cancer in honour of Drew.”

To find out more about the challenge and donate, visit the JustGiving page.

The 40th Children’s Cancer Run takes place on May 14 and participants can take part in 1-, 3- and 5-mile courses. To find out more and sign up, visit childrenscancernorth.org.uk/event/childrens-cancer-run-2023/ Over decades the Children’s Cancer Run has raised more than £8m to support cancer treatment and research in the North East.


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