A Flintshire teenager who is running one of the world’s biggest races, said his late best friend would call him “nuts” for doing it in his memory.

Ieuan Rowe, 18, of Bagillt, will be running the London Marathon in April this year in a bid to raise as much as he can for two charities close to his heart – the Teenage Cancer Trust, and Giddo’s Gift.

The latter is a charity set up by family and friends of the “much loved” Jordan Giddins, of Flint, also known as ‘Giddo’, who died aged 18 last year.

Giddo was a popular football fan who was diagnosed with hemophagocytic lymphohistio-cytosis (HLH) at age 11, and underwent gruelling therapy to battle his illness.

Despite receiving a bone marrow transplant from his sister Beth in 2011, four years later Giddo was diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma when a tennis ball-sized tumor was found on his rib cage.

He spent 150 nights in hospital, received 48 blood transfusions,
10 hours of surgery and spent
10 weeks in America to fight the bone cancer.

But after constant treatment, and according to mum Mandy Giddins, he “fought right until
the end”, Jordan died on April 27 this year.

To honour Giddo’s special memory and selfless nature he showed until the end, his friends and family set up the charity Giddo’s Gift, which raises funds to buy equipment – such as laptops and games consoles – as well as trips away for teenagers and young adults suffering from cancer in North West England
and North Wales.

Giddo’s best friend Ieuan has been tirelessly fundraising to keep his pal’s memory alive.

For Ieuan, the marathon is all about raising funds for the two closely personal charities, as well as “remembering why and who I’m doing it for”.

He said: “I’m a bit nervous because 26 miles is huge, it’s such a long distance and it’s the London Marathon, but I’m also excited for adding more and more money to the total which has really motivated me right now.

“I’ll just put my head down and go for it on the day. I’ve told my mum I want a cold Budweiser waiting for me at the end though.”

Although Ieuan is a keen footballer, and has even set up his own coaching club with friends, Champion Sports Elite in Buckley, the whole 42km seems like a long slog for the Sports and Coaching undergraduate student.

Ieuan said: “I’ve never done that type of distance before. I got to around the eight mile mark, which is nowhere near the marathon, but I was on track with training before I went over on my ankle.

“It was all going really well, I was starting to train after Christmas, doing about four runs a week. Then about two weeks ago I did the ligaments on my ankle when I was running during football coaching. I thought I’d broken it, but A&E said I’ve sprained it and all the ligaments on the top.

“I told the nurse about the marathon in memory of Jord and she said I better rest for a few weeks until the swelling goes down. I think I’ll be fine though – I’ve got the motivation, it’s a personal mission to me.

“It’s a bit of a setback, but it’s a motivation boost too. It’s another wall I have to get through.”

Ieuan has used his knowledge from his sports degree at the University of Chester, as well as tips and advice from runner friends to best prepare him for the London Marathon 2018.

He said: “There will be loads of people from Flint going down to London to support me – I can’t let them down. They’ll be cheering me on for the last mile.”

Giddo’s Gift fundraisers have also helped tot up the total, with friends dedicating time to bag-packing at Tesco Broughton last weekend in a bid to collect the pennies for both the Teenage Cancer Trust, and Giddo’s Gift. Ieuan, along with Ellie Jane Von Borstel, Rhys Jones, Rhys Hewitt, Leon DeBoer, Scott Earnshaw, Emma Jones, Henry Buckley, Jane Lea, Kerry McAdam and Joanne Collins between them raised more than £800 in one afternoon.

l To help Ieuan reach his target
of £4,000, visit his page online at http://bit.ly/2E9r8W9