A heartbroken Leicester dad, whose teenaged son died by suicide, is running the London Marathon this October in memory of his “beautiful, shining, perfect boy.”
When Peter Kenny’s son, Jamie, took his own life in July 2019, at the age of 17, it was something which he says came completely “out of the blue.”
Now he is training hard to complete the London Marathon, in memory of the youngster, who was also a keen runner himself. Pete is also aiming to raise funds for Papyrus, a charity which is committed to the prevention of young suicide and to raise awareness of suicide itself, something which is currently the biggest killer of people aged 35 and under in the UK.
“Before Jamie died, suicide was something that was absolutely incomprehensible,” Mr Kenny told the Leicester Times. “It was something which didn’t fit with our lives or what we knew of him, not at all.
“Obviously, after reading his journal and stuff like that, you get a better sense of him struggling with things, but outwardly to everybody who knew him, there were no obvious signs,” he went on to reveal.
“Jamie was popular, physically fit and fiercely intelligent – our beautiful, shining perfect boy. He loved to talk about history and politics, and was a promising runner. In fact, just before he died, we he did the Bosworth Half Marathon together and he did that in 1 hour 29.
“One of the really difficult things was to think of someone who seemed so strong, and determined actually being so fragile.”
After Jamie’s death, Pete, 65, used running as a way to stay strong and also as a way to stay connected to his son, who had plans to study history at Sheffield University.
Back in May, he raised £8,500 for Papyrus as a result of walking the 230-mile Cape Wrath Trail. London will be his third marathon, and a way of helping to keep Jamie’s memory alive whilst also helping to raise funds for suicide prevention.
“Every year there’s probably 500-600 young people who die in this country out of the blue, without anybody even imagining that it’s possible,” said Mr Kenny.
“What I’m doing is about trying to help, so that other people don’t have to go through what we’ve gone through. You think this stuff is just something that happens to other people, but here we are,” he added.
“Papyrus have a helpline which is the type of thing that Jamie could have used. Unfortunately he didn’t, but we just want to make people aware that help is available if they need it. Jamie was a very private and self contained – the type of person who held stuff to himself, but it didn’t have to be that way.
“We talked a lot about doing marathons together,” he added. “I wish we’d have had more time together and he’d have had more time to explore his running as he showed a lot of promise, and was very competitive.
“As for me running London, I know he’d be making jokes about me being old and slow, but I think he’d definitely be proud.”
To donate to the cause, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/peter-kenny10
To find out more about Papyrus, visit: https://www.papyrus-uk.org/
By Louise Steel