A 17-YEAR-OLD has raised more than £3,500 in a bid to thank the Macmillan team at Southend Hospital which supported his nan in her breast cancer fight.

Luke Cunningham was involved in an epic one-man table tennis marathon which lasted a whopping 26 hours.

Brenda Way, 76, tracked her grandson’s progress on Facebook Live and was overwhelmed when she was informed Luke wanted to raise valuable funds to support people living with cancer.

“Luke called me up and told me he wanted to raise money for Macmillan because they’d been so helpful to me,” said Brenda, who lives in Leigh.

“I’d have been proud if he’d chosen any charity, but the fact he chose Macmillan was the icing on the cake. I’m very, very proud.”

Luke quickly smashed through his £1,000 fundraising target and the teenager was pleased to spend some of his time in lockdown by offering support to Macmillan. He said: “I’m lucky enough to be healthy but I’ve seen first-hand the impact cancer can have and I know the support Macmillan gave my nan was really important for her.

“With that in mind and given my fitness, I want to help Macmillan so they can be there for those who are not as lucky as me, especially during the lockdown period, when people with cancer are likely to be more vulnerable.

“I took short toilet breaks but didn’t allow myself to sleep, so at times I really had to dig deep to keep going. But I know it was nothing compared to the challenges faced by the people living with cancer who are supported by Macmillan. I hope it will inspire others to do similar challenges to support causes close to their hearts.”

Brenda, who is currently shielding at home, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018.

The retired accountant said: “I’m naturally very independent, but my daughter-in-law persuaded me to see the Macmillan team at Southend, who were a tremendous support with useful projects, helpful tips and advice.

“I cannot fault how kind they were and how they made themselves available to me if I needed them.”

To donate to Macmillan Cancer Support’s emergency appeal, go to macmillan.org.uk/emergency or call 0300 1000 200 and to donate to Luke, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/lukes-26-challenge2021