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Marathon runner’s death inspires donations

April 15, 2014

LONDON (AP) — Despite breathing difficulties in the final days of training, Rob Berry made it to the London Marathon, motivated by a desire to raise money for an osteoporosis charity.

Inspired by his mother, who struggles with the degenerative bone disease, the 42-year-old Berry completed the 26.2 mile-course at Buckingham Palace. But after crossing the finish line, Berry collapsed and was later pronounced dead in hospital.

Amid the family’s grief, though, Berry’s legacy is raising more for charity than he ever imagined.

Having started the race hoping to raise 1,700 pounds ($2,840), donations have flooded into Berry’s Just Giving website since his death was announced late Sunday. By Tuesday afternoon, more than 4,400 people had donated in excess of 51,800 pounds ($86,700).

“This is so very sad,” wrote one donor, Sher Meekings, “but I hope his family takes some comfort from the outpouring of generosity.”

And donations to the National Osteoporosis Society continued to rise.

“We are really touched by the incredible generosity of so many people making donations in tribute to Mr. Berry, who wrote so movingly about why he was raising money to help fight the impact of osteoporosis,” said Claire Severgnini, the charity’s chief executive.

Berry’s website was set up a website to highlight his mother’s struggle with osteoporosis, but now also provides a record of his own charitable exertions in the name of charity.

Berry wrote that his mother, Ann, “has been an inspiration through the continued positive outlook she has displayed ever since, despite some quite clear discomfort.”

Berry pushed himself through the pain barrier during four months of marathon preparations, which were detailed exhaustively.

“I have now used my inhaler 3 times in the last week whereas I might use it 3 times in year,” he wrote just a week before the marathon. “Today started out very slow and breathing a big struggle but it got much better as the run went on.”

A counter on the website that had been automatically tallying the days until the race changed Sunday into “days since the London Marathon.” It now serves as a tragic reminder of the time since his death.

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Online: https://sites.google.com/site/robberryuk/home

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