Emotional tribute race to borough grandad
A sporty schoolboy from is preparing to get his running shoes on and complete the town's 10k in memory of his grandad.
Elliot Reeder, 15, will take part in the event on August 12 to remember his grandfather Michael Callaghan, who he described as his “best friend”.
The Westleigh High pupil will take on the course around the town centre to support Wigan and Leigh Hospice and help them look after other people in the borough with life-limiting illnesses.
Mr Callaghan died in March aged 76 after being diagnosed with a brain tumour just a few weeks previously.
Community nursing teams from the Hindley-based charity supported Mr Callaghan and his family for around a month until he died at his Leigh home.
Elliot spoke of the close bond with his grandad and how he wanted to use his sporting prowess to pay tribute to him.
Elliot, of Pickley Court, said: “I enjoy running and I think it will be a good way to remember him and to raise money for the hospice because it helped my grandad and my family so much.
“He’d been my best friend since I was a little boy. He took me out everywhere, picked me up from school and we went watching Leigh Centurions together. I’m a huge fan and so was he.”
Elliot’s family is well aware of the work the hospice does as his mum Sue Callaghan is a healthcare assistant on its in-patient unit.
Sue told of Mr Callaghan’s treatment in hospital and then how he was looked after by the charity’s nurses and also shared her pride at her son’s charity effort.
She said: “From December last year we knew he wasn’t well: he was showing signs of forgetfulness and his walking was not right. There were different signs that we as a family noticed.
“He was referred to Salford Royal and diagnosed with a brain tumour on February 5 and was operated on on February 13 but it wasn’t successful. They got into difficulties in theatre and had to stop the operation. After that nothing more could be done so we wanted to bring him home in line with his wishes. He was referred by Salford Royal to the hospice for end-of-life care.
“Katie from the hospice nurse specialist team came out and the Hospice In Your Home team provided overnight stays which were a lifeline. I’m so proud of what Elliot is doing and I think his grandad would have been very proud too.”
So far Elliot, who is hoping to complete the Leigh 10k in 45 minutes, has raised Â£550.
To sign up for the Leigh 10K on August 12 visit www.leigh10.co.uk. Registration will close once 1,000 participants have signed up.