A Banbury man is running 50 kilometres to help a family's fundraising bid for bone cancer research

Rob Duffy, is attempting his long-distance run on Sunday, May 23 to support family friends Will and Nicole Croft, whose son Freddie has been fighting a form of the disease.

Tuesday, 27th April 2021, 3:43 pm
Updated Tuesday, 27th April 2021, 3:44 pm
Rob Duffy and Freddie get some running practice in with the families' pets

Freddie, now seven, was diagnosed with the rare childhood cancer, Ewing's Sarcoma, in November 2019. It is an aggressive cancer that creates tumours in the bone and soft tissue that can spread to anywhere in the body very quickly.

As stories the Banbury Guardian has published on Freddie's illness describe - see here - the little boy spent a total of eight months in hospital last year having treatment while his Mum and Dad took turns to be with him and to care for their two younger children, Albert, four, and Stanley, two, at home in Bodicote.

The Croft family's fund for the Bone Cancer Research Trust has raised a fantastic £45,490 and Mr Duffy's JustGiving page has already received pledges of £960 to add to that amount - with almost a month to go until the run.

Freddie Croft and Rob Duffy, who will run 50k next month to raise funds for bone cancer research

"Freddie has been through so much, more than any little boy should ever go through. He has been such a brave fighter," said Mr Duffy, whose wife Laura is expecting their first baby a few days after the run.

Mrs Croft said the family is incredibly grateful to Mr Duffy for taking on such a huge challenge for their fund.

"What Rob is doing - 50 kilometres - is the same as running from Banbury to Milton Keynes. He's doing it round Banbury Rugby Club track and it is estimated it will take him about six hours.

"That's a massive thing. It's a big personal achievement for him. He's a very fit person, ex-Army, but this is a big challenge for him.

Freddie Croft during treatment after his diagnosis with Ewing's Sarcoma

"It's quite a hard one to get people to understand. Unless you're a runner you wouldn't know. It would be one thing running to Chipping Norton but quite another running to Milton Keynes. He's chosen the rugby club circuit because it's the right surface for him and it doesn't have the dangers of running on the open road."

Mrs Croft said she and her family want to raise money to help development of more treatments, such as immunotherapy, to allow children like Freddie to have a chance at fighting Ewing's Sarcoma.

"It's an awful disease. The Bone Cancer Research Trust have some promising projects; they’ve been so supportive of us and are trying to make this happen but we need everyone's help to help them. That is why we set up Freddie's Future."

Other fund-raising efforts this year include six sky-dives and a runner tackling the London Marathon.

The Croft family in December - Will and Nicole with Stanley, Freddie and Albert