Goldsmiths student takes on 24-hour row in Peckham to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support

News Desk (14 October, 2020)

Tom's brother, a professional rugby player, is being treated for Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

39539Tom training for the challenge (Photo: Tom Leeming)

A Goldsmiths university student is taking on a 24-hour rowing challenge in Peckham to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support after his brother was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer, writes Simon Throssell…

Earlier this year, 20-year-old Tom Leeming, a second year Fine Art student at Goldsmiths College, University of London, received news of his brother Sam’s diagnosis.

Sam, a promising fly-half, first had symptoms after a routine training session with professional rugby team Jersey Reds, when he started throwing up. After going for a scan, doctors found a lump on his lungs.

He was later diagnosed with a rare form of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which had been causing breathing difficulties, and has since returned to their family home in Darlington to have treatment.

Sam playing rugby (Photo courtesy of Tom Leeming)

Trying to recall the moment he found out about his brother’s illness, Tom told the News: “Since Sam’s diagnosis, it’s actually all been a bit of a blur.

“To be honest, I’ve been feeling a bit helpless. It’s sad that I can’t help my Mum and Dad with the cooking and other things. With COVID as well, it’s made it even more difficult.”

He says the care and guidance from Macmillan Cancer Support has been invaluable in helping Sam through his chemotherapy.

“More than anything, Macmillan have been a huge help in providing information that you can’t get anywhere else,” Tom explained.

“The amount of work they have done just being there to support Sam and answering any questions he has.

“They’ve been so good to my Mum and Dad, keeping their minds at ease because it’s been a big thing to take on board.”

With Sam being a professional rugby player and Tom very much into exercising, a mammoth endurance challenge seemed like the only thing to do.

Laughing, Tom told the News: “It sounds a bit silly but if I was to do anything less than row for 24 hours, what’s the point?

“I think Sam would almost want to join in and in his current situation, I don’t think that’s the best thing for him.

“I hope by doing something like this I can make the best out of the situation, helping Sam and helping others who are going through what we are going through.”

Sam in hospital after his diagnosis

Tom has been training hard for the event which will be taking place on Saturday 21st November at The Yard, Peckham’s first CrossFit box based in Copeland Park just a minute’s walk from Peckham Rye station.

He is encouraging people to get involved and join him virtually by doing a run, cycle or even try 24 hours of rowing themselves. He has also created a GoFundMe page that has almost doubled its goal of £1,500 in two weeks.

“In the last couple of weeks, Sam has received an unreal amount of support from friends and family and I can’t thank them all enough,” he said.

You can donate to Tom’s GoFundMe here: https://uk.gofundme.com/f/24-hour-row-for-sam

Sam, receiving treatment in hospital

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