Daniel Kerley has completed an impressive five London Marathon’s and this year, he will be completing his sixth. Daniel runs in memory of his father, Peter, who sadly passed away just 13 months after being diagnosed with lung cancer nearly seven years ago. In honour of his dad and Father’s Day, Daniel wants to share his story to show others that if you’re struggling after losing a loved one, asking for help can change your life.
“My dad was my idol, my best friend, my world. I can’t speak highly enough of him. Even during his final days, he only worried about his family.
Peter was from Nottinghamshire, he loved nothing more than watching the football with his family and walking the dog. He was an extraordinary man.
We were shocked to discover that he had lung cancer, despite being only 54 and never smoking. Like many others, I never thought that my family would be affected by lung cancer. But lung cancer is a difficult disease which really can affect anyone.
No one prepares you for the shock of losing your loved one, whether you knew it was coming or if it happened very quickly, the shock is unimaginable. I spiralled into quite a deep depression after losing him in 2014 at only 55 and just 13 months after his diagnosis.
When I was young, I always thought mental health issues were something that happened to other people. I didn’t think it could happen to me.
As I’ve grown up, I’ve realised that mental health can affect us all. What I’ve learned most as I’ve come to realise this, is that it’s very important to talk about your feelings, whether it’s to close friends and family or to a professional.
It’s hard to see a way forward after losing your dad. I isolated myself completely from my friends and family, I just wanted to be alone. I knew there was something wrong, but I just couldn’t bring myself to admit I needed help.
But I finally reached out and got help and started talking about my feelings. I was so reluctant to ask for help, I thought I would be seen as weak. But let me reassure you that asking for help is a huge sign of strength. We all need some support at some stage. One day it’s someone you know. Another day, it might be you.
My London Marathon(s)
Since losing my dad, I have had some very dark times. But, because I got help, I have now completed five London Marathons and this year, I’ll complete my sixth. I now try to help others by sharing the hope that anything is possible, no matter what life throws at you.
I signed up to a half marathon just before Dad died, but sadly he lost his battle so never got to be there. The following year, I decided to do the London Marathon in his memory. Dad was a senior partner for IBM in London – the race route takes you past the Embankment, and you can see the IBM office on the South Bank, so it’s a very personal route to me. Seeing his office on those final miles helps me cross that finish line every time.
I hope that with every mile I run, I will raise awareness of lung cancer, mental health and of course, raise vital funds to make sure fewer people have to go through what I did. I am proud to have already raised over £5,000 for Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation and I hope I can raise as much as possible to help the charity.”