Tom Payne is set to run the Great Birmingham Run on Sunday in memory of his father Andy who passed away after a brave battle with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) in July. Tom has so far raised £5,000 for Cure Leukaemia - to donate click HERE.
The players and coaching staff of Warwickshire County Cricket Club regularly make visits to the internationally renowned Centre for Clinical Haematology at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham to meet staff and patients who benefit from funds raised by Cure Leukaemia. In January this year, newly appointed Captain Ian Bell and his teammates visited and met father of three and lifelong Bears fan Andy Payne.
At the time, freelance cameraman Andy was suffering with AML and he shared his story with the players, many of whom knew Andy’s son Tom who once played in the Warwickshire Academy system.
Andy also met former England, Crystal Palace and Wolves footballer, blood cancer survivor and Cure Leukaemia Patron Geoff Thomas (pictured).
On Friday July 22nd 2016 Andy sadly lost his year-long battle with the disease.
Andy was a fine cricketer himself and was a player and coach at Kings Heath cricket club for many years and tributes soon began flooding in from the Midlands cricket community.
In late July the Warwickshire players all wore red armbands as a mark of respect for Andy during a convincing 8 wicket win over Worcestershire at Edgbaston in a Royal London Cup match, a competition the Bears went on to win in September.
Andy’s son Tom and daughters Nicola and Jenni all expressed how touched they were by the gesture suggesting how much it would have meant to Andy.
Just days after his Dad’s passing, Tom signed up to run the Great Birmingham Run for Cure Leukaemia and has nearly raised £5,000.
Andy was instrumental in Cure Leukaemia's video to encourage people to sign up for the Great Birmingham Run in 2016. The 'Be Inspired' video below has been nominated for an award at the Charity Film Awards - to vote for this video click HERE.
Andy was an excellent cameraman and worked on shows such as the BBC's Gardener's World. A programme was dedicated to Andy's memory shortly after he died and the presenter Monty Don sent a touching tribute out on social media:
Cure Leukaemia's runners on Sunday will be wearing special shirts to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the Centre for Clinical Haematology. They are special because during the summer over a thousand people donated their names to Cure Leukaemia and those names have appeared on the design of the shirt.
There was such an outpouring of support for Tom in the cricketing community and especially from Kings Heath CC that another shirt was commissioned by Cure Leukaemia purely for Tom's supporters and friends of Andy.
Tom went to Edgbaston this week to meet Mark Adair, Ateeq Javid, Oliver Hannon-Dalby and Chris Wright who are all backing Tom ahead of the weekend. All players and staff from Warwickshire CCC appear on the shirt including England and Warwickshire all-rounder Chris Woakes who had these words of encouragement for Tom:
The funds Tom has helped raise will go directly into helping patients battling this cruel disease. Cure Leukaemia's co-founder Professor Charlie Craddock CBE who treated Andy has stated that Birmingham can lead the way, globally, in the fight against blood cancer and that effective treatements for all forms of blood cancer can be found with the next 25 years.
This inspirational goal will be only hastened by the fundraising efforts of Tom and all of Cure Leukaemia's runners on Sunday.
To donate to Tom's Just Giving page click HERE, thank you, and good luck Tom!