Tim runs on despite his own battles

FRIENDS INDEED:  Tim Blair  with (from left), Phoebe Berwick (12), Seth Crowden (2)  and Hayden Connelly (15) who have all received support from Tim's fundraising efforts. Picture: Kelly Slater.
FRIENDS INDEED: Tim Blair with (from left), Phoebe Berwick (12), Seth Crowden (2) and Hayden Connelly (15) who have all received support from Tim's fundraising efforts. Picture: Kelly Slater.

DEVONPORT distance runner Tim Blair has raised more than $20,000 for children with cancer and is at it again despite battling his own illness.

The ''it's not about me'' man with a big heart was diagnosed three months ago with Sarcoidosis, an inflammatory immune disease which causes lumps to form in the lymph nodes and other organs.

With tumors in his stomach and throat Mr Blair said the condition leaves him short of breath and has made him too weak to complete his traditional 60km run.

Enlisting the support of the students at both Devonport and Reece High Schools Mr Blair is holding a Run for Kids to raise money for two-year-old Seth Crowden who needs urgent open-heart surgery to correct a hole in the toddler's heart.

In March last year Mr Blair ran from Burnie to Devonport to raise money for Nixon Street Primary School pupil Phoebe Berwick, who was battling ovarian cancer.Mr Blair ran the 56km and raised more than $13,000 along the way.

It was on the run for Phoebe that Mr Blair met Devonport High School Assistant Principal Grant Armitstead, who mentioned Devonport High School student Hayden Connelly.

At the time Hayden was undergoing treatment in Melbourne for osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer.Mr Blair ran another 60km for Hayden in August last year.

''I wanted to do something each year,'' Mr Blair said.

''We had planned to do another 60km run for Seth, but then I got sick and was too weak to do it. So we had to change the plan to a fun run.''

Not deterred Mr Blair will still take part in the run which looks to be a fun-filled family day with distances from one to five kilometres to cater for everyone's ability.

''Its just such a good community thing, it would be great if every community in Tasmania did something for someone in their community,'' Mr Blair said.

The ever-humble Mr Blair had nothing but credit for the students of Devonport and Reece High Schools who have taken over organising the event since Mr Blair's illness.

''The students of Devonport High and Reece High are doing this. Their work's behind it. I'm just a bloke who runs,'' he said.

''These guys (Hayden, Phoebe and Seth), and children like them are inspiration. What they've gone through and to see them come out of it is amazing.''

This story Tim runs on despite his own battles first appeared on The Advocate.