Doting dad takes on 2,000 mile running challenge in memory of his son
After his son was tragically stillborn, a young man from Devon is undertaking an incredible 2,000 mile running challenge in a bid to raise vital funds and awareness for Tommy’s the baby charity.
30-year-old Lewis Keywood, a personal trainer from Brixham, will don his running shoes and take part in multiple marathons and trail runs this year to fulfil his goal of 2,000 miles. So far he is already signed up to run the Hampton Court half marathon, Exeter marathon, London marathon, and Race to the Stones challenge, to name but a few.
Lewis and his ex-wife sadly lost their son (named Yolki) in 2010 after he was stillborn five months into the pregnancy - an event that understandably changed their lives forever. But for Lewis, the tragedy triggered a complete transformation in both is work and personal life.
“Before I lost my son I weighed over 17 stone and worked in a job I hated. Carrying his coffin at the funeral was the hardest thing I have ever had to do but the support that Tommy’s baby charity gave was invaluable. It’s an unthinkable situation for anyone to have to face but I found it especially hard as a man. There’s a fear of talking about it in front of women - it’s their body, they’re the ones who carry the child. I feel they’d be going through something much worse. But actually both parents suffer and it’s important to talk about that and share stories with others to make you realise that you’re not alone.
“It’s crazy that, despite the advances in medicine, the UK has the highest rate of stillbirths in Europe. After the funeral I wanted to do something to pay the charity back for their support, and raise awareness about the cause, so I signed up to take part in a 5K sponsored run. I was so unfit at the time, and I knew I needed to make some drastic changes in my life, so I used Yolki’s death as a catalyst for those changes - I lost weight for the run and ultimately got hooked on the sport. 5k runs turned in to 10ks, then half marathons into full marathons. In fact, in 2015, I quit my job to become a personal trainer to help others lose weight and achieve their fitness goals.
“To date I have participated in nearly one hundred races across the UK and raised over £10,000 but I want to do more. The pain of pushing your body through a race is nothing in comparison to losing a child but it is my personal outlet and way to honour my son’s memory. I won’t stop running and raising funds for Tommy’s for as long as my body allows and hope that people will join me in supporting such a fantastic charity.”
Jane Brewin, CEO of Tommy’s, added:
“When a pregnancy fails or a baby dies, it causes devastation. We believe it is unacceptable that one in four women lose a baby during pregnancy or birth. “The tireless work done by our supporters, fundraisers and wonderful people like Lewis every day, year after year, to help raise millions of pounds is of vital importance to Tommy’s. It’s not just about the valuable financial contribution, but helping to raise awareness of the work we do to help save babies’ lives.”
To sponsor Lewis please visit Just Giving and search for Lewis-keywood 2