Published: 00:01, 14 April 2019
| Updated: 10:31, 14 April 2019
A dad says his late daughter was with him every step of the way as he staggered across the finishing line after a gruelling ‘ultra’ charity run in her memory.
Dean Giles was greeted by supporters as he and three fellow runners crossed the finishing line in Herne Bay after completing the 68-mile challenge.
They had run from St George’s Hospital in Tooting, where five-year-old Eva was being treated, to the family home in Mickleburgh Hill, where she died in their arms almost two years ago to the day.
“It was always going to be emotional, and physically it was the hardest thing I have ever done, but Eva was in my thoughts all the way," said Dean as he recovered from the run.
He and wife Emma set up Eva's Angels after the death of their daughter, who suffered with a rare brain tumour called Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma.
The couple also have a son Ewan, 10, and daughter Rosie, four.
Their fund aims to give families affected by childhood cancer the chance to have a break and make lasting memories.
It has already bought a holiday caravan at Whitstable and Dean’s latest effort is expected to reach £10,000 towards buying another.
“We had great help from charities like Taylor Made Dreams and the Make A Wish Foundation and now those memories of just being a normal family together away from the stress of the hospital environment are so precious to us," said Dean, who works as a telecoms engineer.
But the ultra-run - which took 17 hours - almost broke him, and after he collapsed towards the end it was his fellow runners, brother Lee Giles, friend Jim Cullen and personal trainer James Maybourne, who helped him across the finishing line.
“I have done a few marathons but after about 40 miles it just became incredibly tough and I just hit a wall," he said.
“But it was worth it because the fundraising as hugely exceeded out expectations and the money is still coming in.”
More by this authorGerry Warren