Gym owner who lost eye to cancer completes charity treadmill marathon

Date: 10 May 2020

A gym owner who lost his eye to cancer has raised more than £1,750 for Yorkshire Cancer Research after running a marathon on his treadmill. 

Jonathan Walker, owner of Gambaru Fitness in Harrogate, took on the 26.2-mile challenge on Sunday, April 26 - the day the London Marathon would have taken place if it had not been cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. He was watched by his family, friends and supporters through Facebook Live.

Jonathan said: “I only truly decided to do it around 11am on Sunday morning, however once my mind was set, I had to try. It was so difficult and at times I felt horrendous as many live Facebook followers could see.

“At around 30km I suddenly had a horrible feeling I wasn’t going to be able to pull off this crazy attempt. I had a word with myself and thought of everyone watching, donating and willing me on and just got it done. I’m so happy to have been able to raise awareness and funds for Yorkshire Cancer Research. It made the whole event 100% worthwhile.”


Jonathan was diagnosed with a malignant melanoma tumour in his left eye in 2008. He was due to take part in the British Power lifting championships in just six weeks’ time, but his plans had to be put on hold while he underwent surgery to remove the eye and stop the cancer spreading.  

Jonathan said: “The tumour was the size of my little fingernail and had to be removed one way or another as soon as possible. I was told my dream of competing wasn’t going to happen. Luckily, the NHS did an amazing job and I was out of hospital within two days. The operation took place on my 33rd birthday and it turned out to be the best gift ever. It saved my life.

“I’ve been to Sheffield Hospital every six months since then and I have been looked after in a phenomenally professional way. I’ve had my moments and some scares along the way, however I live by the motto of ‘never give in’.” 

To support Jonathan, please visit


Contact: Nikki Brady, PR Manager, Yorkshire Cancer Research. Tel: 01423 877228.

About Yorkshire Cancer Research

  • Yorkshire Cancer Research was founded in 1925 and is the largest independent regional cancer charity in England (Registered Charity 516898). We are not part of a national charity. 
  • Current statistics show that 594 people are diagnosed with cancer in Yorkshire every week. 
  • Our mission is for 2,000 more people to survive cancer every year in Yorkshire. 
  • There are lots of cancer problems across the region that need to be tackled on a local level. We work in partnership with researchers, clinicians, the NHS, public health bodies and other charities to fund innovative work in four key areas: prevention, early diagnosis, treatment and clinical trials.
  • For more information, please visit or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.


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