Ipswich runner to take on London Marathon in memory of his first dog
PUBLISHED: 13:08 16 April 2018 | UPDATED: 13:28 16 April 2018
A man from Ipswich is taking on the London Marathon for the Animal Care Trust - after his dog received pioneering heart surgery at a London animal hospital.
Father-of-one Billy Pryke, 31, of Ashcroft Road, will join 40,000 runners at the starting line on Sunday, April 22.
He is running in memory of his first dog Reggie, a Springer Spaniel who was treated at the Royal Veterinary Hospital.
In late 2015, Reggie became ill, requiring complicated and experimental heart surgery.
Mr Pryke said: “He wasn’t himself and a couple of weeks before Christmas we took him to a vets with an irregular heartbeat.
“They referred him to the Royal Veterinary College’s Queen Mother Hospital for Animals. “We took Reggie there and received the news he had heart failure. Without heart surgery in six months and medication he would pass away.”
Due to the complex nature of the surgery, Mr Pryke said the hospital could only perform it twice a month, so Reggie was put on a waiting list.
“It is one of only couple of places in the world that provide heart surgery for animals so small,” said Mr Pryke.
In January Reggie went into theatre, but took a turn for a worse a few days later and died.
Despite losing his beloved dog, Mr Pryke says he is proud Reggie’s surgery paved the way for the treatment of other pets.
“The thing I take from it is his surgery gave them the experience to better their expertise.
“I take real comfort from that.
“The reason I want to do the marathon for them, is just to give something back to the hospital.
“The care they gave us, and Reggie, at the hospital was excellent.”
Mr Pryke, who has a 22-month-old son called Levi, said his training for the marathon was going well.
“The training has been good,” he said, “touch wood no injuries at the moment.
“I’ve been fitting it in between family life. I’m not going to miss the 9pm training runs though.
“I have seen the weather next week is going to be pretty hot, it would be pretty bad of it is raining on the day.”
For more information and to donate to the cause visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/BillyPryke or text ACTB97 and the amount you wish to donate to 70070.