Team of South-East Essex paramedics hope to raise money for childhood cancer sufferers through Thunder Run 24hr event

Monday, 04 July, 2011

A team of paramedics from the East of England Ambulance Service are hoping to raise £2,000 for the Neuroblastoma Children's Cancer Alliance by taking part in the Thunder Run 24hr at the end of July.

The Neuroblastoma Alliance UK, which was until recently known as the 2Simple Trust, helps children and families affected by neuroblastoma by providing financial assistance for children's treatment. Neuroblastoma is the most common cancer diagnosed in the first year of life. It accounts for around 15 percent of cancer deaths in children. Around 100 children are diagnosed every year in the UK.

A team of seven paramedics, along with a non-paramedic friend, are taking part in the adidas Thunder Run 24 on the weekend of 30th-31st July 2011. The event is a 24-hour relay race comprising 10km laps through hilly woodland in Derbyshire. The team hope to run at least 22 laps (220km) this year.

The team* includes paramedics and student paramedics from Shoebury, Southend and Rayleigh Ambulance Stations (Dil Patel, Chris Connor, Mark Davies, Charlotte Elliott, Anna Wright, Marcus Redmond and Andy Grout), as well Southend-on-Sea resident Billy Wright.

The team is lead by Dr Sangdil Patel, a Paramedic Tutor based at Southend Ambulance Station. 36-year-old Sangdil, known as Dil, lives on Southchurch Boulevard in Southend-On-Sea and is the father of two boys, 22 month old Arjun and 3-year old Vayu.

"I love running and like a challenge," said Dil. "I try to raise money from running each year and this year wanted to raise money for the Neuroblastoma Alliance UK. As a father, I can barely imagine what it would feel like to have your child diagnosed with cancer."

As well as coming across cancer sufferers in his job as a paramedic, Dil has also been affected by cancer on a personal level as his godmother Tara Patel died of cancer.

Dil also took part in the Thunder Run last year, along with three other team-mates Chris Connor, Mark Davies and Charlotte Elliott, raising money for the Samantha Dickson Brain Tumour Trust. Last year the team ran 21 laps, so Dil is hoping to better this. Last year, Dil ran three laps, and is hoping to run four laps this year.

"I'm hoping we can do more than 21 laps this year. A few of us are keen runners, while others have been roped into it. Most of the team will run just one or two laps, but three of us are hoping to run four laps each," said Dil. "We are trying to train as a team, but it's hard to do this as we all work different shifts."

Each of the individual team members has been training for the event, including doing night runs and shorter relay runs.

The Neuroblastoma Alliance, which was established in 2006, helps children and families affected by neuroblastoma, a common childhood cancer. Children with advanced neuroblastoma can receive chemotherapy, surgery, radiation therapy, stem cell transplant, and immunotherapy. Specialists in America and Europe are trialling new treatments, but if children do not meet the criteria for participation in these trials, they have to pay for their own treatment abroad. For more information on the charity, visit:

To support Dil and the other paramedics, visit their fundraising page at:

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