United Kingdom

Grieving father who lost son, 6, to cancer uses his ashes to create a leg tattoo of them together

A grieving father will always have his late 'superhero' son with him after using his ashes to create a tattoo on his leg.

Kev Pitcher, 47, from East Runton, Norfolk, was inked in memory of six-year-old Benny and will even run a marathon so they can do it 'together'.

Tragic Ben died last year after losing a battle with cancer. Kev has had Benny's ashes mixed with ink in a tattoo on his leg, which shows father and son walking off into the distance.

It also features the words: 'You don't have to be 6ft 6in to be a Superhero'.

Kev Pitcher, 47, from East Runton, Norfolk, was inked in memory of six-year-old Benny and will even run a marathon so they can do it 'together'

Tragic Ben, left, died last year after losing a battle with cancer. Kev has had Benny's ashes mixed with ink in a tattoo on his leg, right, which shows father and son walking off into the distance

And Kev is now set to run a marathon in memory of his son along with a group of supporters on Sunday (August 8).

Proceeds will go towards East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH), Cromer Children's Charity and a third charity Kevin and his wife Julie are setting up called Benny's Battalion, which will support other families with children who have cancer.

Kev, who runs a cleaning and laundry business with Julie, said the tattoo will ensure little Benny is there with him as he crosses the finish line.

He added: 'He's going to run that marathon with me - he'll start and finish the race with me.

Kev, who runs a cleaning and laundry business with Julie, said the tattoo will ensure little Benny is there with him as he crosses the finish line

Benny, left, passed away last year after being diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) nine months prior - a type of tumour that starts in the brain stem. Right: Kev at his son's grave

'One of my boldest statements is, "You ain't got to be six-foot-six to be a superhero". You can be a massive guy and still be as weak as anything lying in a hospital.

'Benny's ashes were mixed in ink by my very good friend Rob Foster - he owns Inkspired Tattoo in Cromer.

What is a diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG)? 

A diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is the second most common type of high-grade brain tumour to affect children.

The cancers begin in a part of the brain stem called the pons, which is responsible for vital functions such as breathing, sleeping and blood pressure.

Because the tumours grow in such a sensitive and important area of the brain it is too dangerous to operate on them, so they are considered incurable. 

Most diagnoses occur in children between the ages of five and 10. 

The cause of the tumour remains unknown, but more than 90 per cent of patients are thought to die within 18 months of diagnosis.

Each year, there are around 100 to 150 new diagnoses in the US and between 20 and 30 in the UK.

Symptoms include lack of facial control, double vision, headaches, vomiting, weakness, seizures and balance problems. 

One of the early indicators of the cancer is a child falling, tripping or losing balance.

Source: The Brain Tumour Charity  

'I heard from the grapevine you could do it, and thought, "I'm going to do it for Benny". I'm not prepared to let my six-year old's name vanish.'

Benny passed away last year after being diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) nine months prior - a type of tumour that starts in the brain stem.

Kev recalled: 'We went on holiday as a family and he went on a ride at Skegness. Everything seemed to be okay, but he came off the ride and the side of his face dropped.

'Two days later we were told we had nine months. The little fella didn't stand a chance.'

Originally a group of runners had made the commitment to run the 2020 Brighton marathon on April 19 along with Kev. But due to the pandemic, they were unable to run the event because it was postponed.

Kev is looking to fulfil his commitment and promise to Benny by running the 26 miles on the Poppy Line Marathon, starting at Sheringham Primary School and finishing near The Crown PH this weekend.

Of the fundraiser, Kev added: 'If people want to donate for the charities wonderful. But the main thing is I want people to know about my boy.'

To donate to the fundraiser, click here.

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