Thank you for taking the time to visit my JustGiving page in memory of Dean Eastmond - an all round phenomenal human being, keen LGBTQ+ activist, established journalist, caramel latte advocate, and dear friend.
Although Mo Farah probably won't be shaking in fear at the news of me taking to the starting blocks to steal his trophies anytime soon, I'm taking on the London Marathon this April to raise money for Dean's chosen charity, Sarcoma UK, in hope to raise as much money as possible to fund vital research into bone and soft tissue cancers like Dean's.
In mid-June 2016, Dean was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma - a rare and aggressive soft tissue cancer- found to be growing off of his ninth rib at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. What followed, despite his never-ending bravery, dark humour, theatrical aloofness, determination, selflessness, and dedication to better the world around him, was a gruelling few months of chemotherapy, proton beam therapy (which Dean humorously coined the “Tesco Finest” version of standard radiotherapy), surgical procedures, chest-drains, continual hospital stays, and an intense feeling of fatigue.
Throughout it all, despite absolutely hating the term (as he never saw himself as worthy of it), Dean remained an inspiration; not just to us lucky enough to grow close to him, but to those spread far and wide through his frank and honest accounts detailing his personal experiences of cancer, its treatments, and its side effects. This rang especially true to those in the LGBTQ+ community, whom Dean represented, fought for (tackling discrimination within LGBTQ+ fertility rights even whilst undergoing treatment), and provided a beacon of hope for - even in his darkest days. Yet, despite putting up the strongest fight I can possibly imagine, on the 3rd of September 2017, we lost him.
I made a deal with Dean last May - quite a ludicrous one coming from a novice runner who often gets out of breath sprinting for the tube - that I'd run the London Marathon on his behalf. It was a simple idea really; that I'd do the running (or rather, wheezing for 26.2 miles) part, whilst Dean tackled the campaigning, with the hope that between the two of us, we'd be able to raise as much money as possible for Dean's selected charity, Sarcoma UK. Dean had been incredibly complimentary regarding how supportive Sarcoma UK had been throughout his journey, and had wanted to give something back to the Sarcoma UK team as a thank you. Now, 7 months after our initial conversations on all things London Marathon, I'm determined to keep my promise to him.
I have no doubts that this shall be the single most gruelling process I will put myself through, but in comparison to all that Dean faced with such courage and modesty, a few blisters, aches and the odd 26.2 miles seem like absolutely nothing.
Please donate whatever you can - whether that be a pound or even ten - and help me to pay tribute to someone who, at only 21 years of age, achieved more than most do in a lifetime. With your support, we can aid in bringing about the early diagnosis, intervention and provision of specialist advice to those with one of the hardest cancer subtypes to both diagnose and treat. Since 2009, donations alone have helped Sarcoma UK to put more than £1.7 million into research that is actively transforming lives, and with 10 people diagnosed with sarcoma every day in the UK, every penny we can raise will make a crucial difference.
Thank you so much for your support. Please share this far and wide, and feel free to come along on April 22nd to watch me turn redder than a tomato with each increasing mile! To read more of Dean's story, please check out some of his super articles by copying the link below into your search bar: