Leukaemia survivor’s positive approach to Run

Bupa Great Birmingham Run follows bike marathon.

For many runners, taking on the Bupa Great Birmingham Run will be enough of a challenge. For Brummie Jonjo Rooney, however, the half marathon will come just weeks after a mammoth 500-mile bike ride in aid of Bpositive, the patient support charity he set up after overcoming acute leukaemia seven years ago.

His ‘Hero of Hamelin’ bike ride, which he undertook with five friends, saw the group cycle to the German town to raise funds for Bpositive and to meet Andreas Geppert, the bone marrow donor who saved Jonjo’s life in 2007. The two men had previously never met.

“Everyone involved really enjoyed it, but it was really quite surreal to finally meet someone who had had such a bearing on my life,” says Jonjo. “I’m not sure how much he liked the Villa shirt I gave him though!”

Having raised almost £9,000 for his charity through the bike ride, Jonjo is now swapping his bike for running shoes and joining a team which includes brother Darren and best friend Bradley for the half marathon on Sunday October 19th.

“It’s going to be so good, running in a city where I’m from and where I was treated, with all the people who have been so supportive of me and the charity,” says Jonjo, who was treated at three Midland hospitals during his illness – Alexandra Hospital, Redditch; Worcester Royal Hospital; Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham.

Jonjo wants Bpositive to be a support network “bringing together all people affected by leukaemia, not just patients but family members, friends – anyone affected in any way”.