A Sefton Park Rangers footballer is running the London Marathon to raise money for the charity which saved his dad.

Luke Sands lost his grandfather to a heart attack when he was 10 years old.

Not long after, his father also suffered a heart attack. He is now on lifelong medication.

In April, Sands will be running at the London Marathon to raise funds for the British Heart Foundation, the charity his family credit with saving his dad’s life.

When his grandad died in 2003, Sands found it hard to understand what exactly the British Heart Foundation does outside of the charity shops.

After years of seeing how the organisation has supported his mother and grandmother, who both contribute to the charity, he now hopes to spread the importance of their cause.

He said: “The research that they do essentially provides people with what to look for so that they can catch this before it strikes so suddenly. Heart attacks can strike without absolutely any warning and ultimately change people’s futures.”

Sands’ father suffered his heart attack very suddenly whilst away visiting family. He believes that what he calls the ‘lifesaving medical research’ has saved the life of his father.

He said: “The funding also goes towards if these do strike without any warning, what can they do? What can hospitals do to really ensure that people can live as close to what their previous days were?”

Sands and his father were always tied together through football and sports. After the heart attack, originally from Harrogate, grew even closer. Running the London Marathon will be a sort of full circle moment for him as he hopes to give back to an organisation his father loves so much.

The Sunday footballer, who works at Liverpool Football Club, has competed in the Manchester Half Marathon several times but the London Marathon will be his first ever 26.2-mile race.

With it being one of the biggest marathons in the world, he admits it is daunting.

“I look at it two ways and one is that with it being the biggest, it’s the most supported so the crowd will pull me through when I need it most,” he said.

He admits that the training has been gruelling, especially having to balance it with football and work but Sefton Park Rangers’ physiotherapists and his teammates have helped him in his journey.

Luke Sands (2nd from left, bottom row) with his teammates.
Photo: Sefton Park Rangers (Ricky Narito and Tom Griffith)

Jake Nolan, co-founder of the club is filled with pride for his teammate. He said: “On the surface of things, we’re a football club that plays on the weekends but we’re much more than that. We’ll be getting right behind him and we’re very proud of him. This is what it’s all about.”

As of today, the £360 out of the target of £1000 has already been raised through 18 donors.

You can donate to Sands and the British Heart Foundation here.