Grieving parents will run virtual Cambridge Town and Gown 10k in memory of their teenage son

Published Date
Alice Cachia

A grieving mum and dad are running the virtual Cambridge Town and Gown 10k in memory of their teenage son who died after a heart attack.

Dawn and Gary Pammenter, from Wimbotsham, will pound the streets of Downham Market this Sunday in a memorial run for their son Jamie, who passed away in October 2018.

Jamie had the life-limiting condition Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which causes muscles to weaken and waste over time.

Dawn, who works at Cambridge University, described Jamie as “a very cheeky, lovable boy who loved a cuddle. He was really grateful for what everyone did for him”.

Jamie began struggling to breathe when his dad was putting him to bed one evening and suffered a severe heart attack, just days before his 15th birthday.

Paramedics rushed him to hospital before he was airlifted to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, where he spent the next month in a coma in intensive care.

But despite medics’ best efforts, Jamie had suffered severe brain damage and passed away in his sleep on October 13 with his parents by his side.

Dawn said: “We’re still grieving. It’s still very raw. One minute he was here and then he was gone.”

The devoted mum has gone on to complete a number of fundraising races including the London Marathon.

And now, just over two years after Jamie passed away on 13 October 2018, Dawn and Gary – also parents to Luke, 13, – are gearing up for Cambridge Town and Gown 10K this Sunday to raise much-needed funds for Muscular Dystrophy UK.

Dawn said: “When I’m running I imagine Jamie’s with me saying ‘Come on Mum, you can do it!’ and that helps get me through.”

Dawn and Gary’s running group will start their Cambridge 10K early in the morning and leave in staggered starts to ensure social distancing is maintained.

Dawn and Gary said they anticipate the run being even more difficult given that there will be very few crowds cheering them on.

Dawn added:

“I’m doing this to raise awareness and funds to help cure this horrible disease because most people don’t know anything about it. I think it’s brilliant that people are still going out there and completing the race and fundraising.”

Virtual Cambridge Town and Gown 10k

Muscular Dystrophy UK, the charity for people with muscle-wasting conditions, organises and runs the Town and Gown series.

Earlier this year the charity made the decision to turn the annual sprint into a virtual 10k that can be completed from anywhere, to help keep runners safe amid the coronavirus pandemic. There’s still time to enter, and tickets cost just £10 each.

Everyone will get a medal as long as they have evidence of finishing the 10K between the hours of 00:00 and 23:59.

Those taking part are encouraged to fundraise for Muscular Dystrophy UK, which has been left with a £2.8 million funding gap due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Dawn said: “Muscular Dystrophy UK have always been really supportive, friendly and helpful whenever we’ve needed them. The fact that anyone can run this race from anywhere means as many people as possible should get involved. Every little penny of fundraising helps.”

Gary, who is running the race despite waiting for a fourth operation on his knee, said: “Everybody who met Jamie adored him and said they enriched their lives. So we decided to run the Cambridge Town and Gown 10K to raise more money in his memory. I’m not out to break records, I just want to raise as much as possible. I think Jamie would be really chuffed.”

The family’s JustGiving page is here:

You can sign up to the virtual Cambridge Town and Gown here:

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