A while ago now I posted the story about the eye patch challenge. While I have lots more to add about the marathon and surgery that preceded it, I have been sworn to secrecy. This may seem strange, but all I can say at this point is watch this space!
Here is my article, which will give you a sneak preview.
Former Hereson student Daniel Jackson who was diagnosed with facial cancer in 2012 has achieved his dream of running in the Brighton Marathon with an eye patch designed by Zack Rintoul a year 9 student at the Ellington and Hereson School, Ramsgate.
Daniel lost his right eye due to the facial cancer which also left him facially disfigured, he decided to enter himself in the Brighton Marathon April 2014 to raise awareness and money for the worthy cause of The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, The Hospital which treated him and gave him his life back.
His challenge to the School was for the students to design and create an eye patch from scratch so that he had something to wear for the Marathon.
The idea behind this was to help build awareness of all types of cancer and involve the students from the school in a fun and creative project. An eye patch design would be chosen by Daniel to wear on the day of the Marathon, as recognition to the students hard work.
This project was led by DT teacher Mr Todd with the whole school embracing the exciting challenge Dan stated: As a former student I knew that the school would rise to the challenge and I certainly wasn’t disappointed with the final design”.
Mr Todd commented: “It was a huge honour for Daniel to decide to choose the School to help him with designing and making an eye patch and the staff and students fully embraced the challenge . Daniels courage, determination and positive spirit has inspired the whole school and we are all extremely proud of him in overcoming his difficulties to achieve the amazing feat of completing the Brighton Marathon with an eye patch designed and made at the School. What has been particularly beneficial for the students is that this has been a real life project, which sparked the students imagination”.
Daniels challenge was not as straight forward in just preparing for a marathon because only two months before the big day he underwent a 13 and a half hours operation which prevented him from training for 6 weeks but he was determined to not let this stop him from achieving his ultimate goal. Armed with his eye patch and huge support from friends, family and the school he completed the marathon in a hugely impressive 4 hours, 52 minutes.
A jubilant Daniel stated: “ After considering hundreds of designs I saw the one designed by Zack, it had a simple design and clear message “Beat cancer” with a cool smiley face with an eye patch. Despite so many great ideas Daniel felt the simple brilliance was a worthy winner. The design was then brought to life by the Design Technology Department using their skills with technician Nick Hodges making the prototype and Head of Department Mr Norman producing the sticker to be placed onto the eye patch. I would like to thank Mr Todd, Mr Hodges and
Mr Norman for all their hard work”.
On the actual marathon Daniel said unsurprisingly, “It was one of
the hardest things I have ever done”. Daniel then likened his
experience to school life.
“A marathon is a huge distance, you cant just turn up and not try.
It takes dedication, but that still is not enough to get you through,
you have to want to make it. One of my favourite teachers once
said that if you want something enough, you will get there. You
can be whatever you want to be but you will have to work for it.
He was certainly right and I never forgot his wise words.
Its easy to think about giving up because you will never make it,
or someone has told you your not capable. If you decide it is what
you want then nobody can stop you. I concentrated on moving
forward, nice and steady, no matter how far away it seemed, I ran until
21 miles when my legs became too tired to run, so I walked about four
miles. All I cared about was the finish line now and as the streets
filled I managed to find some energy and began to run again, savouring
the atmosphere as the spectators cheered me on. The feeling of
crossing that line is something I will never forget”.
Daniel is still collecting for the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity until the
end of June. His just giving page is http://www.justgiving.com/Daniel-Jackson5