When he set out for the finish line on Sunday 1st March 2015, Ricardo Geada had already run a total of 377 kilometres in 8 weeks. Completing the final 23 kilometres to bring him up to 400 overall, Ricardo finished a fantastic personal journey, having gone from a non-runner to someone who could run half a marathon in 3 hours! The conclusion of his epic, dedicated fundraising effort was a fun day event for local families.
Ricardo started the final stretch at 11am accompanied by family friend Fabio, both in NCCA UK t-shirts with Maya’s poster pinned to them and both carrying collection boxes in the hope of extra donations from passers-by and pedestrians; all in aid of Maya’s Journey.
Maya, who was 5 this February, goes to nursery with Ricardo’s daughter. Maya has neuroblastoma; an aggressive childhood cancer of the nervous system affecting less than 100 children per year in the UK.
“After hearing about Maya’s cancer my husband Ricardo wanted to help and challenged himself to run 400km in 8 weeks”, says Ricardo’s wife Tanya. He covered the extraordinary distance by running home from work and putting in more miles at evenings and weekends.
Crowds gathered in Acton Park to cheer him over the line and a family fun day was held in the Acton Park Café including arts and craft tables, face painting and other fun activities for children.
Maya’s parents Agnieszka and Rafal expressed their appreciation on Maya’s behalf:
“Ricardo’s 400km run for Maya has been inspirational and helped keep our spirits up. We could not be more thankful for his support and we admire his dedication to Maya. We also would like to thank to his family, friends, work colleagues and other lovely people who are following and donating to his challenge.”
A large turnout was hoped for and by 12.30pm the cafe was full to the brim with Maya’s supporters. Anticipation built as Ricardo embarked on 5 laps of the park to pass 400km.
Several people had committed to join Ricardo in his final leg including Maya’s aunt, and father Rafal. Maya and her mother were both in the crowd cheering on the runners. After Ricardo and his companions crossed the finish line to huge cheers from the gathering crowds, 50 balloons were released – each with a flyer telling Maya’s story attached.
There was an enormous sense of community and solidarity with Maya and her family all culminating in a memorable day for everyone involved. A total of £995 was raised initially but collection boxes at the event pushed the total well past £1,000.
Ricardo, his family, Maya and her parents would like to give a massive thank you to everyone who took time out of their day to visit and donate money.