Warwickshire father's marathon challenge for charity that helped his son and his family

A father from a village near Kenilworth whose son was diagnosed with cancer at the age of three has said he will “crawl over the finish line if he has to” when he runs his first London Marathon.

Maths teacher Birgir Sigmundsson will be taking on the London Marathon on April 28 for CLIC Sargent, a cancer charity for children and young people, which supported his son Jonas and family during his treatment.

Left shows Birgir Sigmundsson with his son Jonas and right shows Jonas during his treatment. Photos supplied.

Left shows Birgir Sigmundsson with his son Jonas and right shows Jonas during his treatment. Photos supplied.

Birgir said: “I have done a few half marathons but this will be my first marathon and although it’ll be a big challenge, it is nothing compared to what Jonas went through- I’ll crawl over the finish line if I have to.

“When we were going through a very dark time, all the support from CLIC Sargent allowed us to be next our son whilst he was fighting for his life – rather than having to think about money or travel. They were there for us when we needed it, which is why I’m running the London Marathon for them, Jonas, and all of the other children affected by cancer.”

In November 2017, when Jonas was three, they started to notice that he developed a squint in one eye, which began to move differently to his other eye and he also started to vomit. After visits to the GP, Jonas was referred to an emergency paediatrician at Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading.

Jonas was then admitted to John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, where he received an MRI scan which confirmed a mass in his head, and cancer cells in his kidneys and central nervous system; the final diagnosis was Burkitts

Lymphoma. Birgir said: “When we were told it was cancer we couldn’t believe it. Our life was great and we were doing really well, how could this happen? It was really hard to take.”

During this difficult time Jonas and his family were supported by a CLIC Sargent social worker. Jonas and his family also stayed at one of the charity’s ‘Homes from Home’, CLIC Court in Oxford, where families can stay for free to be near their loved ones in hospital.

Jonas has now finished treatment and is attending pre-school.

Birgir said: “Jonas is doing amazingly well and is just like any other four-year old. We are moving on with our lives and trying to be hopeful and positive and I’m really grateful he is alive and happy.”

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