Five challenges raise thousands for hospice in young nephew’s memory

Ross Coniam with nephew Kieran, from Flitwick
Ross Coniam with nephew Kieran, from Flitwick

A caring uncle has completed five gruelling challenges and raised thousands for Keech Hospice Care in memory of his 10-year-old nephew from Flitwick.

Ross Coniam, 33, said the past 12 months had been tough but worth it.

Ross Coniam on his skydive

Ross Coniam on his skydive

He said: “It’s a brilliant feeling to have finally done it, Kieran would be so proud of me.

“From the London Marathon in April, the 100km walk from Brighton to London in May, a 100km river row in August and just recently finishing up with the 24-hour Three Peaks Challenge and a 10,000ft sky dive, I now look back and all the pain has been worth it.

“The moment I touched down on my sky dive I suddenly realised I’d completed all five challenges. I fist pumped the air and thought I’ve done it! I’ve done it for Kieran, for myself and for every Keech family – present and future. I was totally elated.

“To be able to give Keech £20,500 is fantastic and means the charity which looks after very sick children from across Bedfordshire can care for other families just like it cared for mine.”

Kieran died at Keech in October 2014 aged just 10. He battled many health problems in his short life, including cerebral palsy, epilepsy and “global development delay” syndrome. In 2014, he caught pneumonia twice and was also diagnosed with pseudomonas, a bacteria which affects the lungs. Kieran’s immune system was too weak to fight the bacteria, and as a result his health deteriorated.

Ross added: “As his uncle, I’ve always said if Kieran could have he would have been a thrill seeker. I could spin him round in his chair for a good ten minutes and he just wouldn’t get dizzy.

“For several years Kieran was supported by Keech. He’d love using the hospices hydrotherapy pool and as a family Keech cared for Kieran giving us the chance to have a break.”

Ross also praised the bereavement support at Keech, helping the family in the days before his funeral.

He added: “Having those final few days with Kieran was so special. It seemed impossible just to leave him, go home and try to carry on as normal. The bereavement support Keech gave us was invaluable. Keech looked after us at the time in our lives we needed it the most. I just can’t praise what Keech did for us as a family highly enough.

“It was the same week Kieran died I got accepted to run in the London Marathon and that’s what kick started the five challenges idea really.

“The marathon was just brilliant. Running alongside 40,000 other people each one doing it for their own personal reason was overwhelming. At one moment I found myself running and crying at the same time. Running gives you time to reflect I guess and as I ran I thought about Kieran. The finish was just amazing as Kieran’s brothers, the family and Keech cheered me over the line.

“This year I’m getting married – I’m sure my fiancé will be delighted to hear she’s getting her husband-to-be back! However, I might slip an odd marathon in and I hear Keech is organising a brilliant fundraising trek to India in October – Honeymoon perhaps?

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