Report by Don Hale
North Wales Road Runners will be hitting the fundraising trail again next month in a bid to raise money for Children’s Cancer Charities, and as a tribute to an extraordinary teenager, Rohan Ingley, who tragically lost his life to cancer in 2018.
The enterprising members were determined to continue with their valuable charity support after a popular 5-mile race planned at Deganwy during June was postponed for the second year running due to continued Covid-19 restrictions.
Club officials therefore have opted for a special relay event to be staged on Llandudno promenade on Sunday June 6th (10am) – for club members only – and including mixed teams of three athletes running a split of 1.66 miles for each leg, to match the 5-mile target.
All proceeds from this relay race will be donated to CLIC Sargent and in aid of Cancer and Leukaemia in Children with donations welcomed via this link: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/carla-green1
Deganwy Dash renamed last year to Rohan’s Run
Immediately prior to the start of this horrible pandemic – organisers of the “Deganwy Dash,” agreed to rename their race to “Rohan’s Run,” in a bid to both commemorate and celebrate the life of an exceptional teenager Rohan, who eventually lost a long battle with leukaemia in August 2018, aged just 17.
Joint race directors and NWRRC officials, John Hatton and Carla Green, at that point, said they felt honoured to be asked to take charge of this new tribute race, and admitted to feeling humble after getting know Rohan’s family, and to fully understand, just what they had been through.
Last year, John agreed: “Carla and I have organised this race for a long time, and in future it be run in Rohan’s memory, and will be called “Deganwy Dash 5-mile Rohan’s Run.”
This year’s “Dash” race postponed
The plan however, to run the race this year was unfortunately postponed again, as the Welsh authorities failed to lift their ban on live outdoor athletic meetings, which still restricts the number of runners participating, despite identical rules being approved some time ago across the border in England.
This delayed decision has obviously caused turmoil for many charities, and fundraisers, and subsequently led to NWRRC opting to continue their quest to help via charity-based club relay events, or time trials.
And this week John Hatton pleaded: “Please support Carla’s CLIC relay. It is for a very good cause, and the family who lost their teenage son will also attend, and present prizes. Let’s make it another great event that we can be proud of.”
During the lockdown and repetitive Covid problems, NWRRC have raised thousands of pounds for local charities, including St David’s Hospice, and more recently for the RNLI Mayday appeal.
And in a special feature about this time last year, John provided some important details about Rohan, and additional information relating to the background of this latest fundraising campaign.
He confirmed: “Rohan suffered for three years, and after his first bout of treatment he seemed to be winning, but sadly, he eventually succumbed. He was an extremely talented and popular teenager.”
Rohan Ingley from Abergele, was a highly talented all-rounder, who excelled at sport and music, and was a very popular student at the King’s School in Chester.
His father and mother, Sanjay and Aradhana, together with his sister Shreya, who are all doctors, were obviously devastated by his loss, but wanted everyone to know just how much Rohan’s short life was appreciated by so many people.
They thanked the race team and officials for their incredible support, and said they were very much looking forward to the next tribute race event.
The family however, admitted, they never fully realised Rohan’s popularity until he first started to become ill, and additionally, Sanjay praised their generous and continuous support for his young son from Rohan’s friends, fellow students, parents and teachers.
He confirmed: “We had no idea just how popular Rohan was until his illness. When he was having treatment in hospital, many of his school friends even arranged a sort of rota and often visited him, sometimes seeking help and advice, or popped in for a chat, and perhaps some help with their schoolwork. He was an amazing young man and never once said “poor me” or ever felt sorry for himself. He always wanted to help others.”
In March 2018, just a few months before he died, staff, pupils and parents arranged for a special fundraising “Open Mic Night” to be held at his school. The event was live streamed direct to Rohan’s hospital bed, where together with his father, he eagerly followed and enjoyed the festivities.
Rohan’s parents were later presented with a cheque for £5,808 for Ronald McDonald House charities, a cause close to Rohan’s heart. Sanjay acknowledged: “These were particular charities that Rohan wanted any money raised in his name to be donated to.“
One of the event organisers, Dr Byrne said: “The Open mic event was an incredible manifestation of the love and support people had for Rohan.”
Valued student and sportsman
It was also agreed that after the end of the school year, a special prize would be named after Rohan as a lasting tribute to a valued student and former classmate.
His parents added: “Rohan passed away on 3rd August 2018. Throughout his illness, he remained a smiling inspiration to all those who knew him and faced every challenge with such grace and maturity.
“Rohan was an exceptional person, and despite being on regular chemotherapy for leukaemia, and therefore missing his year 10, he still took his GCSEs by doing two years of study in one year and achieved fantastic results.
“His achievements outside of academics included a Grade 7 for drums and piano, and he also played cricket for NE Wales county team, the King’s School team, and for St Asaph Cricket Club. Additionally, he gained accolades in the past for karate, chess and even for swimming, and he achieved a worthy gold medal at national level.
“He always impressed everyone with his resilience, bravery and sheer determination to make the very best of himself.
“Most importantly, Rohan was an amazing human being. His love, compassion, kindness and care for everyone was unparalleled. We have not only lost a son, and a brother, but we have also lost a great friend, a harmoniser, a problem solver and a techno-whiz. We miss him so much. We miss his energy, his kindness, and his lovely smile.“
Memorial Service at School in 2018
Sanjay continued: “A Memorial Service, held at the school in November 2018, was packed. Tributes were paid to Rohan by head teacher George Hartley who said: ‘Rohan was a wonderful, brave and highly gifted student who embodied the very best characteristics we would wish to see in a King’s student.
“His loss has had a profound effect on everyone in the King’s family. He will always be remembered as an outstanding student and a first-class young man.“
And the school’s senior deputy head confirmed: “We all knew Rohan in school to be an all-rounder. He loved music and was an accomplished drummer, pianist and trumpet player, who also excelled at cricket. Even when he missed so much of his GCSE courses, he returned to school and gained reports and grades that were all A-star, and A1 for effort. He went on to achieve spectacular GCSE results across the board.“
Rohan’s name has now been commemorated at the King’s School, where the “Rohan Ingley Centre” has been built.
This is a new Pastoral Centre utilising the latest state of the art facilities. It comprises of an impressive medical centre, a learning support department, and a counselling service.
*Fundraising reminder for donations: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/carla-green1
- Joint race organiser John Hatton has also completed a YouTube tribute to Rohan, and he wrote a simple piece of music that was recorded at a friend’s studio.