8 July 2021

A team of RAF Reserves are taking on a marathon fundraising challenge in honour of their teammate with terminal cancer.

James Iddon, whose main career is a matron in the NHS in Bristol, was diagnosed with head and neck cancer in April last year and shared his story with Above & Beyond as part of our Bristol Against Cancer campaign.

James in his RAF uniformHaving received his treatment at Bristol Haematology and Oncology Centre (BHOC), James signed up to run the London Marathon for Above & Beyond to celebrate the year he beat cancer. 

Sadly, in May this year, James received the devastating diagnosis that not only had his cancer returned, it is now terminal, leaving him unable to complete his charity challenge.

As an RAF Reserve at Brize Norton, James’ colleagues and friends from the military have decided to do their own marathons to help James hit his fundraising target.

James said: “I’m very lucky to be a member of a great RAF team. They’ve all pushed themselves in their own way to do it. Some of them are trying to run the marathon distance in a week, some are recovering from injury so they’re going further but on bikes, but they’re all raising money.

“I’m amazed at their ability to go ‘you’re part of our team and what’s your challenge is our challenge’.

“What they’re each personally achieving on their own and on my behalf is such a morale boost when you’re going through difficult times and you’re having difficult days - and when you’re dealing with a terminal diagnosis there’s plenty of those times. It puts a little spring in your step when not much puts a spring in your step. James received treatment at the BHOC

“I just feel really cared for. It’s amazing.”

James’ RAF colleagues will each be running their own marathon in stages before all completing the final five miles this Sunday (11 July). They’ll then have an online reunion with James.

James said: “I’ve always been a runner and saw the London Marathon as an opportunity to combine my love of running, getting back to fitness, my recovery and giving back to the NHS. It just seemed like such a great thing to do.

“Finding out the cancer had spread to my lungs was the most devastating bit of the whole journey.

“At the time it didn’t feel real. The day I heard that diagnosis I was doing marathon training. To let the information sink in I went out and ran 12 miles.

“I then had the realisation that I had to change my perspective on things and what I can physically do.

“The fundraising has continued to go way past the target which is a lovely thing to see. It’s just showing me that they’re there for me.”

Click here to donate to James and his RAF colleagues