Daniel Williams (27) from Deal didn’t expect to win a ballot place for this year’s London Marathon, but when he did he knew that he wanted to do it for Pilgrims Hospices. The charity cared for Daniel’s grandad, Ron Collard, in 2017, so he took the opportunity to give back and achieve a personal fitness goal at the same time.
Ron had lung cancer and was cared for by Pilgrims at the end of his life.
Daniel said: “My grandad was my rock. He was a big part of my life, and losing him left a big hole in our family. Pilgrims were fantastic, not only caring for my grandad but for our family, too. They were amazing. There isn’t enough any of us can do to pay them back for their kindness and the time they gave us.”
I know my grandad would be very proud of me and I’m determined to do the marathon to give back just a fraction of what Pilgrims gave us as a family.
In October 2018, Daniel found out he’d won a place in the London Marathon. Initially shocked and surprised, he accepted the challenge. He said: “After a lot of thinking and sleepless nights I decided I was going to take on this mammoth feat, not knowing at the time that it would change my life around for good. I felt it would be a nice opportunity to give a little something back to Pilgrims.”
Before he could think about completing a marathon, Daniel knew he needed to get in shape and start training. At 25 stone, he had a lot of weight to lose. He added: “I started off by eating healthier, walking every evening and signing up to a gym with my personal trainer, Steph Hoare, training five nights a week. Steph has been my rock throughout, picking me up when I didn’t think I could do it and keeping me motivated. The weight began falling off very quickly.”
To date, Daniel has covered more than 1,000 miles in his training runs and lost an incredible nine and a half stone. Since October 2018, he’s gone from 4XL to Large / XL in clothing. He said: “This a massive achievement. It has totally changed my life around, I can now do so many things that I wasn’t able to before. I know my grandad would be very proud of me and I’m determined to do the marathon to give back just a fraction of what Pilgrims gave us as a family.
“I’m aiming to complete the London Marathon in six hours. I can’t wait to cross that finish line for my grandad.”
Daniel has already raised an amazing £1,500 in sponsorship for Pilgrims Hospices. You can sponsor him by visiting his JustGiving page.
If you’re inspired to follow in Daniel’s footsteps and take on an event or challenge for Pilgrims, visit pilgrimshospices.org/events to find out more.