A DAD from Warwick whose little boy was diagnosed with cancer at three years old has said he will “crawl over the finish line if he has to” when he runs his first London Marathon.
Birgir Sigmundsson will be putting his fitness to the test on Sunday (April 28) by taking to the streets of the capital to raise money for CLIC Sargent, the cancer charity for children and young people which supported his son Jonas and family during his treatment.
The teacher said: “I have done a few half-marathons but this will be my first marathon and although it’ll be a big challenge, it is nothing compared to what Jonas went through – I’ll crawl over the finish line if I have to.
“When we were going through a very dark time, all the support from CLIC Sargent allowed us to be next our son Jonas while he was fighting for his life – rather than having to think about money or travel. They were there for us when we needed it, which is why I’m running the London marathon for them, Jonas, and all of the other children affected by cancer.”
In November 2017, when Jonas was just three-years-old, they started to notice that something wasn’t right. Jonas developed a squint in one eye, which began to move differently to his other eye and he also started to vomit.
After a few visits to their GP, Jonas was referred to an emergency paediatrician and had a CT scan.
Birgir said: “We were really worried and a few hours after the CT scan we got the news that there was something behind his eye and we should expect a call from the oncologist within 48 hours”
Jonas was admitted to hospital where he received an MRI scan which confirmed a mass in his head, and cancer cells in his kidneys and central nervous system – the final diagnosis was Burkitts Lymphoma.
“When we were told it was cancer we couldn’t believe it – cancer happens to other people, not us. Our life was great and we were doing really well, how could this happen? It was really hard to take.”
During this difficult time, Jonas and his family were supported by a CLIC Sargent social worker, who provided emotional, practical and financial support.
“Our CLIC Sargent social worker was brilliant – she had heaps of experience and she took care of everything which allowed us to focus on being with Jonas as much as possible. She helped us with all the financial elements you don’t think of such as the benefits we were entitled to. There are so many things you have the right to and you have no idea – that’s why social workers are so important.”
Jonas and his family also stayed at one of the charity’s Homes from Home where families can stay for free to be near the hospital and their loved ones.
Jonas has now finished treatment, and is attending his local pre-school.
“Jonas is doing amazingly well and is just like any other four-year old. We are moving on with our lives and trying to be hopeful and positive and I’m really grateful that he is alive and happy.”
Visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/birgir-sigmundsson1 to sponsor Birgir’s London Marathon effort.