Man's charity bid to run 5k every day until mum's return from hospital

Tom Knight in his running gear in front of a brick wall

Tom Knight is running 5k a day until his mum, Elaine, is well enough to leave the Royal Papworth Hospital - Credit: SUPPLIED

For most people, watching your mother recover from major surgery from afar would bring a feeling of helplessness.

But a Gorleston man is turning the tables and getting proactive by taking on a fundraising challenge to help others in future.

Inspired by his mother’s journey of recovery, Tom Knights has pledged to run 5k a day until they are reunited.  

The 27-year-old has embarked on the fitness challenge to keep busy and to raise money for a cause close to his family’s heart, he explained.  

“My mum, Elaine, is currently in Papworth Hospital and just had another life-saving operation,” he said.

Tom Knight in bright running gear smiling at the camera

Tom Knight is running 5k a day until his mum, Elaine, is well enough to leave the Royal Papworth Hospital - Credit: SUPPLIED

“She’s had quite a few there over the years, including a heart and kidney transplant last year.  

“It’s so hard not being able to visit her because of Covid so to keep myself busy I’m raising money for Papworth by running 5k every single day until she can come home – we don’t know when this will be yet.”  

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Mr Knight began his running challenge on Sunday, December 6, and set a modest target of £100. But just 11 days into his daily 5k’s and Mr Knight had already reached almost £2,000.  

Now, the amount is up to £2,555, and has had 153 supporters helping to fundraise for the Royal Papworth Hospital Charity, based in Cambridgeshire. 

Mr Knight added: “I’m so overwhelmed by the support of family, friends, and even strangers, as we’ve managed to get to this target. And I’m not planning on stopping yet either.  

“So many friends and family members have joined me on my daily runs, which are usually along Gorleston cliffs, to support us.   

Tom Knight running along Gorleston sea front

Tom Knight is running 5k a day until his mum, Elaine, is well enough to leave the Royal Papworth Hospital - Credit: SUPPLIED

“This has kept my motivation high and I’m now able to have short Facetime calls with my mum most days. Her strength and positivity keeps us all going.  

“I’d love to try and reach as many people and get as many donations as possible to continue helping.”   

Dozens of people have left words of support and encouragement for Mr Knight via his Just Giving page.  

Sue Secker said: “Such a fab thing to do, keep running and wishing your mum a speedy recovery." 

Will Lancaster described his efforts as “fantastic” and said: “Hoping for a quick road to recovery so you can be together again.”  

And Louise Sayer added: “Papworth is an amazing place and gave us 18 more years with my lovely dad. Well done Tom, your mum will be very proud of you.”  

Finally, an anonymous donor, who left £100 for the cause, said: “The Royal Papworth Hospital is a state-of-the-art building and facility which is world-leading. However, it’s the staff that make it such a wonderful hospital with such caring, dedicated people.”  

The charity fundraises to help support ground-breaking work which is carried out at the hospital.   

With increasing pressures on the NHS, the charity plays a vital role in ensuring that the hospital continues to provide care by investing in staff development, improving the hospital environment for patients, and supporting research into new ways of treating heart and lung disease.   

A spokesperson for Papworth Hospital said: “Our patients, their families and the staff are at the heart of everything we do, this is all made possible by the generosity of our supporters.  

“We support the work of Royal Papworth Hospital as the UK’s leading centre of excellence for the treatment and diagnosis of cardiothoracic disease, to provide additional amenities for our patients and their families and to fund Papworth’s pioneering research activity and vision for the future.” 

The charity recently celebrated reaching its Christmas Challenge appeal target to raise £20,500 for a new heart and lung research institute – part of its largest capital appeal to raise £5m to support the new build on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus.   

To donate to Mr Knight’s 5k a day challenge, then visit the Just Giving website

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