PLOD team carries on for Action Medical Research in memory of teammate Ken | Action Medical Research

PLOD team carries on with fundraising in memory of teammate

19 June 2015

A team of fundraisers from Peel Ports in Greenock vowed to plod on despite the tragic death of teammate Ken Clark just a month ahead of their overnight challenge in aid of Action Medical Research.

The group of four put their best foot forward on Friday, 5 June, to complete the children’s charity’s Trossachs PLOD, a gruelling 50km midnight hike through some of the most challenging landscapes the Trossachs has to offer including Loch Drunkie, Loch Achray and Loch Venachar.

Senior Marine Manager Ken had been among the group of colleagues from Peel Ports Glasgow who pledged to take part in the PLOD after he stepped in when one father-to-be had to pull out as his wife was due to give birth.

But when Ken sadly passed away on his way home from work on 7 May, team captain and Marine Pilot Bill Mullan says the team was faced with a tough decision.

“Although Ken’s sudden death was a huge shock, it was important to carry on – we wondered for a while if we were doing the right thing but it was definitely what he would have wanted,” he says.

Bill’s brother Kenneth stepped in to march in Ken’s honour and Team Ken – also made up of Rufus Redman and Jonathan Craig, and supported by driver Billy Frew – completed the route in 13 hours and 15 minutes, accompanied by a toy Paddington Bear they had named Clark.

“None of us had really trained that much; we all work separate shifts so it was difficult to find time outside work to meet up,” says Bill. “But we were all really determined to get round and Kenny in particular helped encourage everyone on the night. It was certainly tough but it was worth it, especially now we’ve beaten our fundraising target to raise £1,600 – so we’ve decided to do it again next year!”

Money raised by teams participating in the Trossachs PLOD will help fund medical research into conditions affecting babies and children.

Medical research can save and change children’s lives but surprisingly, medical research into conditions that devastate children’s lives is poorly funded. Action Medical Research, which began in 1952, is currently funding work around stillbirth, epilepsy, meningitis, cerebral palsy and brain cancer, as well as some rare and distressing conditions that severely affect children.

Among the research the charity is currently funding is research being carried out by Dr Wendy Cohen, of Glasgow’s University of Strathclyde, and David Wynne from Glasgow’s Royal Hospital for Sick Children. Children who’ve had surgery to the windpipe because of a condition called subglottic stenosis, or SGS, may one day benefit from their study which aims to improve understanding of why some of these children experience vocal problems while they’re growing up, which can adversely affect learning and quality of life.

Action Medical Research is also together funding a study with Neuroblastoma UK, led by Professor Robert Mairs, of Glasgow’s Institute of Cancer Sciences, to develop a new combination treatment in the hope of reducing the suffering that’s associated with side effects of treatment for a cancer called neuroblastoma.

Around 100 children are diagnosed with a cancer called neuroblastoma each year in the UK1,2: most are younger than five years old3,4. Although treatment often proves life-saving, it has side effects and doesn’t always work meaning that sadly, around a third of children lose their lives within five years of being diagnosed with neuroblastoma.

To support Team Ken, please visit action.org.uk/sponsor/peelports

- ENDS –

 

For an image of Team Ken before the death of Ken Clark (pictured second from left), please click on the link below:

http://www.action.org.uk/sites/default/files/downloads/press/team_ken_-_trossachs_plod.jpg

Team Ken just before the Trossachs PLOD:

http://www.action.org.uk/sites/default/files/downloads/press/team_ken_-_trossachs_plod_2.jpg

Bill Mullan (right) with brother Kenneth:

http://www.action.org.uk/sites/default/files/downloads/press/bill_mullan_and_kenny_mullan.jpg

NOTES TO EDITORS:

References:

  1. NHS Choices. Neuroblastoma. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/neuroblastoma/Pages/Introduction.aspx Website accessed 25 June 2014.
  2. The Neuroblastoma Society. Home page. http://neuroblastoma.org.uk/ Website accessed 25 June 2014.
  3. The Neuroblastoma Society. Neuroblastoma FAQs. http://neuroblastoma.org.uk/families/neuroblastoma-faqs/ Website accessed 30 June 2014.
  4. Cancer Research UK. Childhood cancer survival statistics. http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/cancer-info/cancerstats/childhoodcancer/... Website accessed 16 September 2014.

For more information on Action Medical Research, please contact Ellie Evans, Fundraising Communications Officer, on:

T: 01403 327480

E: eevans@action.org.uk

W: action.org.uk

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Action Medical Research is a leading UK-wide charity working to save and change children’s lives through medical research. We believe that the diseases that devastate the lives of so many of our children can be beaten. We have been funding medical breakthroughs since we began in 1952 like the first polio vaccines in the UK, ultrasound in pregnancy and the rubella vaccine – helping to save thousands of children’s lives and change many more.

Just one breakthrough, however small, can mean the world. Charity reg.nos 208701 and SC039284.

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