Alsager man's Spiderman run in memory of brother
THE brother of a severely-disabled teenager who died suddenly is taking on a trio of races in his memory.
Tom Gillespie has set himself a challenge of raising £5,000 for charity as a tribute to his 'brother and best mate' Ben who died days before Christmas after being struck down with a chest infection.
He will donate the cash to the Trentham Lakes-based Donna Louise Trust which supported Ben before his death on December 20 at the age of 17.
The 21-year-old said: "To say Ben's death was a shock is an understatement. I went to work on Monday morning and it was the same as any other day. He had a slight chest infection but we thought it was nothing to worry about.
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"But the next day he was taken into hospital and he died two days later. It was a day none of us thought we would see."
Ben was diagnosed with glutaric aciduria when he was 18 months old.
The rare metabolic condition, which affects the left side of the brain, meant he was unable to talk or walk and left his body struggling to fight off illnesses.
Ben has already kick-started his challenge by completing the Alsager 5 earlier this month and is now preparing to take on the charity's annual 10K run and the Potters 'Arf this summer.
Tom, of St Gabriel's Court, Alsager, added: "Despite all of Ben's physical disabilities, he was as bright as any other person. He would communicate with us using sign language and had such an innocent mind.
"The week Ben died was the toughest of our lives and I honestly don't know what we would've done if it wasn't for the staff at the Donna Louise.
"Ben spent a lot of time at the hospice over the past six years and they supported us when we thought we couldn't cope."
As part of his charity challenge, Tom, who works as a marketing executive, will dress-up as Ben's favourite superhero, Spiderman.
He added: "Ben loved Spiderman, we spent a lot of time talking about him, so I thought it was only right to do it in fancy dress. It will feel like a part of him is running with me. Ben was the best brother I ever could have asked for. He was a real fighter and he truly was my hero. So I want to do this for him, no matter how tough it is going to be."
Tom's friend Alex Downing has also volunteered for the challenge.
The 22-year-old, of Congleton Road South, Church Lawton, said: "I am proud to say that Ben was a friend of mine. He led a good, happy, enjoyable life and his family gave him the world.
"Tom has been my best friend since school. I can't imagine what he has been through, and what he is still going through, but I wanted to support him by running these races with him, it is the least I can do."
The pair are now looking for donations to boost their fundraising efforts. To donate visit www.justgiving.com/Ben-Gillespie-Donna-Louise.