Luke Compton, said his ‘world fell apart’ the day 18-month-old Kaleb passed away in June 2015, and that running has been his way of dealing with grief.
Since 2015, Luke, from North Tawton in Devon, has completed more than 50 half marathons all over the country and ran his first London Marathon in 2017, raising more than £7,000 for Children’s Hospice South West (CHSW). On Sunday, April 26, he will be proudly taking on the famous road race again for the charity.
“I always said if I was to do a marathon, it would be London and it would be for Children’s Hospice South West,” said Luke, 30.
“In 2017 I had that chance to run it for CHSW and completed it in 3hrs 48mins. I also said ‘never again’ but fast-forward a few years and here I am again, deep into marathon training.
“Running is my ‘way out’; it’s my way of having my time to think about Kaleb and what I could do to help CHSW.
“I remember seeing a quote a few years ago and every time I read it, it reminds me of Kaleb, the London Marathon and CHSW – ‘thousands of miles separate us, 26.2 unite us’.”
After Kaleb died, Luke spent some time with him before his funeral at the charity’s Little Bridge House children’s hospice, near Barnstaple. Luke said he remembers the fear, heartache and pure devastation he felt driving from North Tawton to the hospice the day Kaleb died.
My world had just fallen apart but the time we spent together at the hospice is something I will forever thank CHSW for – warm, happy and life-lasting memories, moments I will never forget.
“The children’s hospice was and remains the most incredible charity and I promised from that day on I would do anything possible to help and raise awareness to thank them for everything they did for Kaleb and continue to do for me.”
Luke and his family have supported CHSW ever since, forming the Kaleb’s Thumbprint Friend’s Group to help raise money and awareness. The hairdresser hopes to raise £10,000 by taking on the London Marathon again but said raising awareness was as important to him as raising the money.
He said: “I won’t be running London 2020 in memory of Kaleb, but for everybody contacted to CHSW – the children who use the hospice for respite and support; those who have used it for end-of-life care; and sadly for all the children who have no idea that it is there for them in the future.
“As a dad of a child who only used Little Bridge House at the end of his son’s life, I want families to know that the hospice is there every moment. It’s about making memories, doing things in your own time, the right time, family time.
“The word ‘hospice’ is a word I try so hard to explain; it’s not a sad, dark, end-of-life situation. If you walk into any of the CHSW houses, you hear laughter, giggles, shouting, happiness, content children in their own bubbles living the only life they know.
“I will never be able to look Kaleb in the eyes, watch him grow up or be able to hold him and just be his Dad but I can help other families enjoy their special family time.”
If you can sponsor Luke, please visit his online JustGiving page