A big-hearted bakery warehouseman is going an extra 13 miles to raise money for the little son of a colleague who’s battling leukaemia.
Jake Longworth, 32, is in training for the half marathon in Wrexham on Sunday, February 19, which is being sponsored by the Village Bakery where he works.
He has been inspired by the plight of two year old Oscar Hughes, the son of Natalie Hughes, a member of the admin team at the company’s bakery in Minera, near Wrexham.
Coincidentally, Jake was also in school with Oscar’s dad, Rob.
Natalie is currently on maternity leave after giving birth to the couple’s daughter, Sophie, six months ago.
The diagnosis was given to Natalie and Rob at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool on Christmas Eve.
Because Oscar’s temperature was high at the time they had stay in Alder Hey over Christmas.
On the plus side, the doctors are confident Oscar’s leukaemia is treatable.
According to Natalie, she was deeply touched and “cried a bit” after hearing that Jake was going to be raising money for him
She said: “You hear all these stories about kids having cancer but you never expect it to happen to you. It was a shock when we found out.
“We have been in the Maelor Hospital all weekend. Every time his temperature goes over 38 degrees we’ve got to take him in for 48 hours on antibiotics because he can’t fight colds or anything. We’re home now because it’s under control.
“The treatment isn’t going to be nice and it’s going to take a while but they’ve said they can cure it.”
Although Jake has taken part in five half marathons and 10k runs before, this is the first time he’s entered the increasingly popular Village Bakery Half Marathon.
The 2017 event is the 21st anniversary of the sponsorship by the Village Bakery, which also has two bakeries on Wrexham Industrial Estate, and has a record entry of 1,500 runners this year.
After shedding four stone by “giving up drinking”, he’s aiming to break his personal best of 2hrs 11mins on the day, particularly as the course is mainly flat.
Jake said: “I’ve got an added incentive because raising some money for Oscar is the least I can do.
“His mum, Natalie, works here in the office and I was in school with her fella, Rob.
“The news about Oscar is very sad and I’ve been touched by the story.
“I can’t think of anything worse and it’s a lot for them to cope with as a family. I’m going to do my best for little Oscar.
It was a sentiment echoed by Claire Jones, the sales office supervisor, who’s also a friend of Natalie’s.
Claire said: “This should be a happy time and then she gets the devastating news.
“Jake is great and he’s really coming up trumps. The response we’ve had at the bakery has been phenomenal and we’ve raised near enough £1,000 already.
“When I asked Natalie if it was okay if Jake ran she was really overwhelmed and quite emotional that somebody would do something so nice for her.
“Natalie has got her hands full with little Sophie as well and she’s back and forth to Alder Hey for Oscar’s treatment. Everybody is rooting for little Oscar.”
Village Bakery managing director Robin Jones said: “I am really proud of Jake and the rest of the team for raising money for Oscar and I think it’s typical of our Village People. They are a great bunch of people.
“It’s a real ordeal for Oscar and the family and the way the bakery staff have rallied round is just a testament to the quality of the people we’ve got here.”