Why James is running for Cancer Focus NI

22 February 2019

Why James is running for Cancer Focus NI

Moira dad James Hall is running the Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon in memory of his father and grandfather, who he lost to cancer.

James (30) has chosen to run for Cancer Focus Northern Ireland because he is so impressed with the work that the charity does to support local people affected by cancer.

“I was always going to run for a cancer charity and when I saw that Cancer Focus NI was a charity partner this year I felt it was the perfect one for me. I lost both my father and grandfather in the space of a year, so I’ve experienced what it’s like when someone close to you is so ill, and I know how valuable extra support is to those families,” he said.

 “I feel much more of a connection to a small, local cancer charity like Cancer Focus NI that does such good work for cancer patients and their families in our community.

“I think the work Cancer Focus NI does is fantastic – not only do they care for and support cancer patients and their families, but they work hard in workplaces, schools and community venues to help people lower their risk of cancer in the future. This is a very worthwhile cause, so I hope other runners will think of signing up to raise funds for the vital work they do,” he said. 

 “My dad Graham passed away two years ago and my grandfather, Jack Gunning, the year before that. I decided that each year I would take on a new challenge to raise money for cancer charities. I’ve done a couple of marathons and half marathons and ran Belfast in 2015, and I’ve done a few challenges like charity boxing also,” he added.

“My grandad, who was 82 when he died, survived throat cancer years ago when I was only three or four. He had a tracheostomy, which is the only way I remember that it happened. The cancer recurred in later life and his heart was affected. He had been sick for a long time.

“My dad, who was a smoker all his life, had lung cancer. It was very difficult watching my dad going through chemo. There was nothing you could do except be there for him. He probably had been ill for a while but he was an old school type and didn’t go to the doctor,” James continued.

“He only went in the December 2016 but by then he was told his condition was terminal, Stage 4, and he was given six months. He actually passed away the following February, a month and a half later. He only had time to have two rounds of chemo in the end. He was only 67.

“It was only a short struggle for him. He found out on New Year’s Eve and he said he’d something to tell me the next day.

“Both my dad and my grandad were living in England when they were ill so I was traveling backwards and forwards. I feel a lot for people in those circumstances,” he said.

“Most people have been affected by cancer in some way and you do feel a bit helpless. We as individuals have to do what we can to help and fight to beat this disease, so please help by signing up for Cancer Focus NI. They can’t do their valuable work without your support.”

James has set a target of £500 for this year’s marathon. If you would like to sponsor him go to his Justgiving page at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/james-hall41

You can #runforyourlife and support Cancer Focus NI by selecting them when registering for the 2019 Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon.  Already signed up and would like to start fundraising for them?  Simply email events@cancerfocusni.org or call 028 9068 0771 to request your free fundraising pack.


Entries are NOW OPEN at www.belfastcitymarathon.com via the brand new MyTicket App.  The current rate is the available until 28th February with a final entry deadline of 12th April 2019.