Dad’s mission to save others from tragedy

David Kershaw organised a snail race at the Venue to raise money for charity Headsmart.
David Kershaw organised a snail race at the Venue to raise money for charity Headsmart.
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David Kershaw is a dedicated dad on a one-man mission – to turn a devastating tragedy into something positive.

The 39-year-old has today spoken of the heartache of losing his two-year-old child to a brain tumour – and his determination to stop other families 
going through the same pain.

David Kershaw’s son Jake died in September 2008 aged just two after 
developing a tumour, despite him being sent home by doctors who diagnosed it as a sore throat.

He was given antibiotics but died with his father by his side, despite the efforts of paramedics and hospital staff to save him. A post-mortem examination three days later revealed he had developed a large and undiagnosed benign tumour.

The father-of-three, from Rossall Road, Cleveleys, believes his son could have survived if HeadSmart, a charity which highlights the symptoms of brain tumours and what to look for, had been around at the time.

And since the tragedy five years ago, Mr Kershaw has focussed his energies on 
raising as much money as 
possible for the cause – 
including with a slightly 
unusual event.

His latest venture saw him host a snail race at The Venue, in Cleveleys, which raised more than £500 for the charity, for which Mr Kershaw is now an ambassador for the North West.

The night saw punters backing a series of animated snails projected on to a big screen in eight races.

It comes after a number of other events he has run in recent years, including road races and a skydive.

And he is not planning to stop there.

Next up is a five-mile race in memory of his son to take place in the summer.

“The whole idea is that if I get through what I’m going to do and save a couple of families from going through what I did then I’ve done my job,” he said. “If HeadSmart was around then the diagnosis would have been spotted.

“The snail race was a success and we raised a lot of money and are planning another one for August.

“I’ve done quite a few things like a skydive in Scunthorpe and a fun run in Manchester, and if anyone wants to do 
anything they can get in touch and I will help them do it.”

Jake’s ‘Seaside Scamper’ will take place on August 10 and will stretch from Blackpool’s Central Pier to The Venue. The majority of the money will go towards funding symptoms cards, which will be available around the Fylde coast and handed out to parents to spot the signs of brain tumours in children and young people.

Entry into the fun run costs £7.50. Visit the website

Just hours before he was taken to doctors by his worried parents David and Carley, two-year-old Jake had been running around at his first ever toddler group.

But it was when he started to vomit in the car ride to the then family home in Manchester that they became concerned. They took him to the doctors but he was sent home with antibiotics after being diagnosed with the sore throat.

But he continued to vomit and had a soreness in his neck. Dad David decided to go to bed with him and keep an eye on him after he became sleepy. But David later woke to find his son unresponsive. 
Paramedics and hospital staff battled to save him, but were unsuccessful.