Family of 19-year-old who died of rare cancer urge supporters to join lockdown challenge

Nikki Bowdidge, CEO and Founder, with her son Tom, who was diagnosed with a soft tissue sarcoma at a

Nikki Bowdidge, CEO and Founder, with her son Tom, who was diagnosed with a soft tissue sarcoma at age 18 Picture: THE TOM BOWDIDGE YOUTH CANCER FOUNDATION - Credit: THE TOM BOWDIDGE YOUTH CANCER FO

The father of a popular Colchester teenager who died aged 19 is calling on supporters of his son’s charity to join a national coronavirus lockdown challenge.

Tom Bowdidge, from West Bergholt, died at the age of 19 Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

Tom Bowdidge, from West Bergholt, died at the age of 19 Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY - Credit: Archant

Despite suffering from a rare and aggressive form of cancer, Tom Bowdidge worked tirelessly to help other young people with the illness.

After his tragic death aged 19 parents Richard and Nikki set up the Tom Bowdidge Youth Cancer Foundation in his honour.

However, like other charities across the UK, fundraising activities for the foundation have been hit hard by the coronavirus lockdown.

MORE: All the latest coronavirus news where you liveNow Tom’s father Richard is asking supporters to rally behind the 2.6 challenge, which launches on the day of what should have been the 40th annual London Marathon.

The Colchester Sixth Form student was a popular teenager Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

The Colchester Sixth Form student was a popular teenager Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY - Credit: Archant

“This event could not have come at a better time for our young teenage cancer patients,” said Richard.


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“We have seen our care grant applications rise by 900% because of the impact coronavirus is having on these young people’s lives.”

The challenge, which lasts for a week, asks participants to think of an activity based around the numbers 2.6 or 26.

MORE: Join our coronavirus Facebook group for Suffolk updatesNick Rusling, co-chairman of the Mass Participation Sports Organisers group (MSO), explained: “The 2.6 Challenge can be anything that works for you. You can run or walk 2.6 miles, 2.6km or for 26 minutes.

Nikki and Richard Bowdidge celebrate hitting the £1 million mark at the Tom Bowdidge Foundation Feat

Nikki and Richard Bowdidge celebrate hitting the £1 million mark at the Tom Bowdidge Foundation Feather Ball Picture: STEVE BRADING PHOTOGRAPHY - Credit: STEVE BRADING PHOTOGRAPHY

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“You could do the same in your home or garden, go up and down the stairs 26 times, juggle for 2.6 minutes, do a 26 minute exercise class or get 26 people on a video call and do a 26 minute workout – anything you like.”

The 2.6 Challenge is open to anyone of any age – the only requirement is that the activity must follow Government guidelines on exercise and social distancing and remember to stay local.

MORE: Get coronavirus updates directly to your inbox with our newsletter• Supporters can donate to the Tom Bowdidge Foundation’s fundraising page, or create their own 2.6 challenge donation link on the charity’s Virgin Money Giving homepage.

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