A man running a marathon for a Clydebank charity says he was inspired to raise money after being reduced to tears by the death of someone he'd just met.

Sam Whyte will run the Loch Ness Marathon in October for the Clydebank Asbestos Group (CAG) after speaking to sufferers of mesothelioma - a terminal cancer caused by exposure to asbestos as part of his day job.

The public relations manager was dealing with case studies of people who had been diagnosed with the disease and, speaking to the Post, admitted after finding out more about the illness he just had to do something to help.

He said: "We were meeting with existing charity members, so people who are currently getting support from the charity and they wanted to tell their story.

"Stories about their lives, how they got affected by asbestos and the stuff they were going through and essentially coming to terms with the end of their life.

"There was one woman in particular who had mesothelioma and she was the sweetest, most proper, genuinely nice human being.

"Kind, very pragmatic about her diagnosis, still very happy, always had a smile on her face.

"And then three weeks after we finished filming with her at her house, we got news that she had passed away.

"I remember, I got the call while I was driving the car and I actually pulled over and I had a wee tear.

"There was something about this woman that just got to me, and I thought, I want to do something about this."

Taking action

Describing that he wanted to 'help the people who had helped them', Sam revealed his best friend's dad also sadly died recently with mesothelioma and he's discovered the more he finds out about it, the more he feels he needs to act.

"You get mesothelioma by breathing in asbestos fibres and they embed themselves in the lining of your lungs or elsewhere," Sam continued.

"It only takes one fibre to get it and the problem is it can take decades to develop.

"So you could be exposed to asbestos dust when you are 20 and not even know it."

After learning more about the fatal cancer, he decided to help CAG and the Asbestos Action by taking on the 26.2-mile running challenge of the Loch Ness Marathon, a distance the keen runner has never run before.

Clydebank Post: Sam and his girlfriend Malgo have been keeping to a healthy diet ahead of the big runSam and his girlfriend Malgo have been keeping to a healthy diet ahead of the big run

The 34-year-old, who himself suffers from Crohn's disease, has run a longest distance of 17 miles before but admits his body nearly 'collapsed' afterwards.

But that hasn't stopped him from giving himself a target of between four and four and half hours to get round the scenic Loch Ness course although his main goal is to raise as much money as possible for the asbestos groups.

Sam finished: "Crohn's is something I can manage, and I can manage it myself. I have learned to adapt my lifestyle.

"But people with asbestos-related diseases don't have that choice. All their choices have been taken from them because corporations in the past treated people as expendable.

"And now future generations are paying the price for it and that is why they deserve the extra help."

A spokesperson for CAG said: "A huge thank you to Sam for taking on this challenge and for raising money for Clydebank Asbestos Group. We wish him all the best for the day and very much appreciate his efforts that will help us to continue to support victimsof asbestos."