Everton’s fitness coach ‘Blown Away’ for fundraising support

Everton fitness coach Jack Dowling says he has been “blown away” by the support he has received after completing an inspirational challenge for his late brother Tom.

The senior team fitness coach completed a remarkable challenge of running 26 marathons in 26 weeks in support of his brother and Macmillan Cancer Support.

Jack’s achievement will be celebrated tonight ahead of the Merseyside derby, with supporters encouraged to donate to MacMillan this weekend, who will be doing a bucket collection outside Goodison before the Brentford game, with the funds raised going towards Jack’s total.

Reflecting on the challenge, Jack said: I have been impressed by the support I have received from the start. From every pound donated, to every message of encouragement, everything helped me keep going and get back out there for the next one. Especially when I injured my knee earlier this year and especially in the last few weeks after the loss of our Tom.

I’m devastated that Tom won’t be at the finish line with me, he’s been my motivation all along, but I know how proud he would be of what we’ve achieved together as part of this challenge. It’s also a great comfort to know what a difference the money raised will make to others going through their own cancer journey at a time when they need that support the most.

Jack took up the challenge of running a marathon of marathons after Tom was diagnosed with cancer. It quickly became known as Project 26:26.

When Jack crossed the finish line of the 2024 London Marathon on Sunday, he had run the equivalent distance from Goodison Park to Berlin since starting the venture last year.

He ran in all weathers, battled injuries and recently played catch-up to get back on schedule after a knee problem prevented him from completing one of his marathons. This was in addition to navigating Evertons often busy and changing fixture schedule.

Sadly Tom passed away at the end of March and the thoughts of everyone at Everton and MacMillan continue to be with Jack, his family and all of Tom’s friends.

The most recent marathons were therefore some of the most mentally and emotionally challenging for Jack. However, he has spoken of his determination to complete the challenge and reach his fundraising target in memory of his great supporter, Tom, and to honor his brothers’ legacy of helping others.

As the biggest fundraiser of this year’s London Marathon for Macmillan Cancer Support, Jack is fast approaching his target of £71,000 – the amount it costs to fund two Macmillan specialist nurses for 26 weeks. And as well as taking every opportunity to spread cancer awareness, particularly among younger men, Jack has also been sharing his personal experience of the amazing work Macmillan does to support families like his in the throughout the 26-week challenge.

The Project 26:26 challenge started on the same weekend as this season’s Anfield Merseyside derby. Coincidentally, it came full circle, ending 26 weeks later and just four days before tonight’s game. It’s something that hasn’t been lost on Jack, who grew up a firm blue despite his older brothers’ Liverpool allegiance. Today’s game will be the first Merseyside derby in which he will not receive the usual message from his brother, who finished him before the start.

Most of the 26 marathons took place around Merseyside and friends, family and colleagues from Everton consistently turned up in droves to support Jack by cheering him on and even joining in on foot or by bike always that they could His efforts received high-profile support, including Blues legends Neville Southall and Peter Reid, while players and other hall staff also joined him on several occasions and shared the your messages of support.

The challenge may be full, but donations are still gratefully received. Jacks fundraising page is available on JustGiving and Instagram @project26.26 or on his dedicated website project2626.info.

You can also send text messages PROJECT 2626 a 70550 to make a single donation of 5.

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Image Source : www.evertonfc.com

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