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Unsung Hero: Kingston father fundraises for cancer charity Momentum
A father has raised thousands of pounds to refurbish a playroom for young patients at Kingston Hospital – and lost three stone in the process.
When his daughter Mia had cancer diagnosed in January last year, Gary Keene, 46, of Park Road, Kingston, became involved with the Momentum charity, which supports children with cancer and their parents.
The family got the news while they were living in Hong Kong, and moved back to get treatment for Mia.
Though Mia, nine, was found to be in remission just before Christmas, Mr Keene is still raising as much money as possible for the charity.
He said: “Momentum did a phenomenally good job for us. This is nothing more than paying that back for other parents and children.
“They do the small things incredibly well, day to day things which allow you to live your life while you spend time in hospital with your kids.”
Mr Keene’s fundraising has helped Momentum achieve the money needed to begin the refurbishment of the playroom, which is due to start in the next few weeks.
Sue Stilwell, a paediatric nurse at Kingston Hospital, said Mr Keene’s fundraising was “amazing, such a worthwhile project”.
She said: “The big thing for Gary is that he has experienced it first hand, and how important it is for the playroom to be developed.”
Mr Keene took part in the London to Brighton cycle ride in June, raising £5,477.
He also completed the 100km Thames path walk from Putney to Henley raising £1,347 in September.
Bianca Effemey, director of Momentum, said: “Gary is fantastically supportive to Momentum. It is so inspiring to show that a father can put so much energy into raising money.”
Mr Keene lost three stone over his seven months of training for the events.
He said: “Once I committed to do the cycle ride and knew I wouldn’t be able to do it at my old weight. I set a goal of losing 46 pounds in my 46th year, and that’s what I did.”
Next year he plans to run a marathon, and cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats, for Momentum.
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