Two friends from Luton, who were both morbidly obese, have beaten the odds by taking part in the London Marathon.
Rana Miah and Khudael Ashraf and 19 of their friends began training in July as Team Luton, to raise £50,000 for the charity dedicated to raising money for research and providing care for children with cancer and their families.
Their first official run was the Love Luton 10k in October, since then the team have raised nearly £70,000.
In June, Rana weighed just under 24 stone, had Type 2 Diabetes, suffered with Sleep Apnoea and was diagnosed with High Blood Pressure.
He said: “From August 2018, I started to prepare myself for the new me. I spent the whole month to understand nutrition, diet and exercise.
“I started in September with great pain to my body and started to walk five kilometres to get ready for the Love Luton 10k in October 2018.
“With a great support network, I had managed to complete the 10k and raised nearly £2,000 for Children with Cancer UK. The achievement was not only completing the 10k, but the huge weight loss.
“This encouraged me to keep breaking through these barriers for a fit and healthy life.
“Now, I am no long diabetic, weigh 15 stone, have stopped smoking and stopped drinking fizzy drinks.
“I have continued this journey to become fit and healthy whilst also completing various challenges along the way, including the Vitality Big Half Marathon, Milton Keynes 20 Miles and Bedford 16 Miles.”
Khudael decided he wanted to lost weight and get healthy after he pulled his calf muscle walking to the train station after watching the London Marathon last year. In January he weighed 26 stones and 3lbs, now he weighs 15 stones 10lbs.
He said: “On October 28th 2018, I ran the Love Luton 10k, a feat I deemed impossible just months before. My story encouraged many generous donations to Children with Cancer UK.
“My journey is not over. Far from it. The most important thing is that I am on a journey.
“We have challenged ourselves to raise as much funds for Children with Cancer UK.
“The Charity does some amazing things for children. They actively raise and invest money for vital specialist research to save the lives of every child with cancer and keep their family together.
“Their vision is a world where every child diagnosed with cancer gets to ring their end of cancer treatment bell.
“We have teamed up to reach an individual target of £10,000 for Children with Cancer.
“Between us we have lost in excess of 17 stones and counting. With your support we can reach our fundraising goals.”
To help Team Luton raise money for Children with Cancer UK visit: www.justgiving.com/companyteams/teamluton-london2019.