THE ‘Keepin it Renal’ event, organised by the Ricky Casey Trust to help raise awareness of the rare and aggressive kidney cancer that claimed his life of the firefighter in 2019, was a resounding success.
The three weeks of events concluded on March 27 with widow Nicola Casey’s 23-year-old son Ellis Forshaw running 30 miles.
He was joined by a group of Ricky’s friends who cycled 51 miles on the day over the same route.
And while the event was primarily about raising awareness about this little-known cancer, the various fundraisers saw more than £18,000 collected for research work into the cancer.
Nicola Casey, Ricky’s widow, said: “When Ricky was alive, he was overwhelmed by how kind and thoughtful people were and he would have been emotional if he knew what they were doing now.
“What people did to raise awareness and money was phenomenal and overwhelming.
“Now it is not just about people who knew Ricky but those who want to know about the cancer itself and who maybe know others who have it.
“That means we are doing the job we set out to do and will continue to do going forward.”
Ellis was joined by friends Finlay Scott, Will Cottom and Declan Devowski who cycled alongside him while a team of 20 cyclists who were pedalling 51 miles on the same route around Saddleworth that he was running.
Phil Allingham arranged the cycle which involved everyone who knew Ricky, either from Springhead Football Club or old school friends.
Rugby league legend Kevin Sinfield, who ran 51 miles in memory of his friend Ricky, also joined Ellis for the first 10K of his marathon which started from The Farrars Arms while five friends also ran with him at various stages to provide support.
The idea behind the ‘Keepin it Renal’ event was to mark what would have been Ricky’s 51st birthday so events incorporated that number with walks, runs and cycles of 5.1K. 5.1 miles, 51K or 51 miles.
Firefighters Aaron Lee and Darren Edwards from white watch at Oldham, where Ricky worked, ran 51 miles in March.
And firefighters Rob Folliard and Ian Hamby ran 5.1K wearing breathing apparatus and another group of firefighters cycled 51 miles between fire stations in Greater Manchester.
Between March 7-21 a team of eight former Diggle FC players each ran 51 miles and cycled the same distance raising more than £1,200 for the Ricky Casey Trust. They joined Ellis for part of his 30-mile fundraiser.
And a team from the renal team at The Christie, who helped care for Ricky, also took part either walking or cycling either 51K or 51 miles while Sarah Duplain and Rachel Schofield walked 51 miles in one day from Ramsbottom to Salford Quays and back.
Nicola, who has formed the Ricky Casey Trust to raise awareness Renal Medullary Carcinoma (RMC), a rare and aggressive kidney cancer and raise funds to research potential cures, has been overwhelmed by the response.
She has received requests for t-shirts from as far afield as Australia from people wanting to take part in walks, runs or cycles.
On March 27, the Ricky Casey Trust teamed up with the Chris ‘CJ’ Johnson Foundation in Texas, USA.
Chris died in 2012 aged 39 and his mother Ritchie set up the foundation which shares the same objectives to raise awareness and funds for research into RMC.
There were events both sides of the Atlantic.
Nicola said: “We are a charity that is trying to support research into RMC which gets no publicity, no funds and no trials.
“Without our help, they would not get anywhere.”