A FLINTSHIRE man is running the London Marathon dressed as a penguin in homage to his late wife's dying wish. 

Michael Pendry, from Ewloe, is running the marathon this weekend in memory of wife Kelly who died from a rare form cancer aged 42 just before Christmas last year. 

Kelly loved penguins, and Michael, aged 44, had booked a day for her to be a penguin keeper at a zoo. Sadly, she passed away a week before the visit could take place.

The Leader: Kelly PendryKelly Pendry (Image: Family photo)

She was diagnosed with uterine leiomyosarcoma in 2021 following a lung biopsy – five years after her initial symptoms of heavy, prolonged periods and a swollen stomach had started. By 2021, her cancer was terminal.

She had been told she had benign fibroids and that a hysterectomy was needed, but the Covid pandemic meant follow-up appointments were repeatedly postponed and the surgery never happened.

Last year, Michael ran 145 miles from his home to the office where he first met his wife in Bristol to help fund Kelly’s treatment.

Michael – who had two children with Kelly, Sam, 11, and Isla, nine – has been training in his penguin costume around his home village. He will be raising funds for charity Sarcoma UK.

The Leader: Michael and Kelly Pendry with their children Sam and Isla.Michael and Kelly Pendry with their children Sam and Isla. (Image: Family photo)

He said: “Kelly’s favourite animal was a penguin so I will running the marathon in a penguin outfit. I had booked a day for her at a zoo as a penguin keeper but she passed away a week before.

"My aim is to raise awareness of this kind of cancer, as most people, including many healthcare professionals, don’t know about it.”

Paying tribute to his late wife, Michael said: "Words simply cannot describe how I feel, Kelly was and always will be the love of my life, she was my angel. Wherever Kelly went and whoever she met Kelly would make a difference, her smile was infectious and so was her laugh.

"Kelly would light up a room the moment she entered and the room would keep that light long after she left, that’s the effect she had. When Kelly was diagnosed all she cared about was fighting for our kids, the thought of not watching them grow up and them growing up without a mum terrified Kelly and that’s what kept her going each and every day and embracing every treatment imaginable regardless of side effects."

The Leader:

Michael has already raised over £2,000 for Sarcoma UK, and people can donate to his JustGiving page at https://bit.ly/3JkfYkP.

Kerry Reeves-Kneip, director of communications and fundraising at Sarcoma UK, said: “Michael Pendry’s extraordinary effort to run the London Marathon in a penguin costume is not only an incredibly creative way to honour his beloved wife Kelly’s memory, but also a powerful statement about the urgent need for greater sarcoma awareness.

“Kelly’s heartbreaking story shines a light on the devastating consequences of delayed sarcoma diagnosis. Her initial symptoms were tragically dismissed, allowing this aggressive cancer to advance unchecked for five years before the shocking truth was revealed. No family should have to endure such an ordeal."


She added: "At Sarcoma UK, we are committed to ensuring stories like the Pendrys’ serve as a rallying cry for change. Increased public education about sarcoma’s diverse signs and symptoms, coupled with improved training for medical professionals, could mean the difference between life and death for thousands in the future.

"Michael’s penguin-suited marathon will raise vital funds for sarcoma research and support for families affected by sarcoma.”

Uterine leiomyosarcoma is a subtype of leiomyosarcoma. There are an average of 525 cases of leiomyosarcoma diagnosed every year in England. Symptoms of uterine leiomyosarcoma include vaginal bleeding post-menopause or between periods, and pain around the pelvis or stomach.