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Special people

Published on January 21st, 2020 | by Ramona Sarac

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Alex Dan Dumitru and his incredible story – from 110 kilograms to humanitarian marathons and bearer of the Olympic torch

His story is absolutely amazing, and certainly a source of inspiration for many people. Alex Dan Dumitru (42 years old), a Romanian living in the UK, got to 110 kilograms, and one day he realized he couldn’t even climb the stairs up to the 3-rd floor. So he started with diet and sports, and got to 86 kilograms when he ran at his first humanitarian marathon. Others followed, and he succeeded in raising over 20.000 pounds for different humanitarian causes. He ran all these marathons even if he had a leg shorter than the other with 5 centimeters – he had a very complicated surgery in 2018. But he had a huge ambition and worked very hard – and now he is “back on business”, training and running. In 2012, he was one of the baerers of the Olympic torch, and he also works as a volunteer with British police, trying to help to reduce delinquency among Romanian community. And he is the “heart” of “Romanians in UK Challenge”, a wonderful project that brings people together, to discover nature during themed routes, trips and hikes.

Alex moved from Romania to UK in 2004, with his wife, who was a nurse – dreaming about a better future for their children. He graduated in Economical Sciences, but worked in a biscuits factory – he started as machine operator, then became a team leader. For two years, he works as an interpreter for different public institutions in UK.

Humanitarian marathons for people in need

“Working in the biscuits factory, I got to 110 kilograms – I couldn’t even climb the stairs up to the 3-rd floor” he remembers the moment that had changed his life completely. Everything that followed was a mix of ambition and very hard work. A plan of nutrition, one of training, a lot of reading, documentation, physical and mental effort. But nothing stopped him – neither the moments when blood flew from his nipples, nor the bad weather, rain, snow, nothing. “Your mind gives you power”, he says today, describing how he got to 86 kilograms and ran his first humanitarian marathon, 4 years after.

Others followed. First humanitarian campaign was for a boy with cervical spine rupture, paraplegic, next were for different cases, for Romanian foundations. He insists he couldn’t have done anything without the support of the Romanian community in the area, that offers financial support donating for his actions.

One of the baerers of the Olympic torch

In 2012, he was one of the baerers of the Olympic torch, an unique moment full of emotions. “It was a certainty that this volunteer work is appreciated and rewarded, and it gave me wings to participate to my next actions”, he says. Three other marathons followed, to support different causes – a foundation for children with leukemia was one of them. He also participated in two triathlon competitions.

“There were 2 million people on the streets of London to support us, London marathon is unique for those who want to run, there’s a lot of dedication, to run a marathon is not easy. The marathon does not have to be won, it has to be finished. Life itself is a marathon with ups and downs, some run faster, others slower, a marathon ends after 42 kilometers, life ends way later, it’s very important what we leave behind”, he says.

Over 20.000 pounds raised for different causes

He raised over 20.000 pounds for different causes, running humanitarian marathons. And all this had happened despite of a very serious medical problem – he had his left foot 5 centimeters shorter that his right one. In 2018, he had a surgery that was extremely difficult, he remained with a metal rod on the left femur with 5 screws. “I had to learn to walk again”, he says. He had walked with crutches for 4 months, the effort was enormous, and little by little started training again. “Now I can run 10 kilometers”, he proudly says, preparing for the next marathon, in February.

Not anyone, in his medical situation, would’ve fought and gone further. But he says the most emotional moment was when, after 4 months of going with crutches, he could go back on the treadmill. “I had seen blind people who had run 42 kilometers, people without feet, without hands, who want to give a message – if you want to do good and show that you care, you can. We have 2 hands and 2 feet and we run, we have this joy, others don’t and would love to have it”, he says.

“Romanians in UK Challenge”

Beyond the marathons, Alex Dan Dumitru is also doing a lot for the Romanian community in the area. In 2015, he had started “Romanians in UK Challenge”, a wonderful project that brings people together, to discover nature during themed routes, trips and hikes and, of course, to donate to support people in need. Several dozen Romanians took part, charity actions were also organized. Last year, for instance, they spent 3 days with tents and trails near the North Sea. “It was an unforgettable experience, especially for the children. Almost 80 Romanians were there, they come from very long distances to take part in these experiences”, he says.

He also works as a volunteer with British police, trying to help to reduce delinquency among Romanian community. “The project is very well seen by the police, the level of delinquency became lower”, he says. For his activities, he was nominee for the community volunteer of the year – the ceremony will take place this year in February.

He is so happy that his son, Stefan, also started involving in volunteering, seeing his father’s example.

Overcome your limits every day

Alex Dan Dumitru is certainly a source of inspiration for many people, he also succeeded in mobilizing many beautiful people around his heartfelt actions, to support and donate for those in need. “In my cases many people want to stay anonymous, everyone’s joy is to see a smile, a tear of joy, a good result for a child”, he says.

He is grateful for all the chances he had, and for all the wonderful people around him. “Without God there’s no strength. Everything starts with us and our involvement – limits must be overcome by involvement and by the desire to do something. Maybe we don’t even realize we have overcame a limit. We are all born the same, through what we impose ourselves we can be different”, he says.

PHOTOS FROM PERSONAL ARCHIVE

Do you know a very special person? Someone who has followed his dream, built it piece by piece, with passion, energy and lot of soul? An usual, simple person who did something in life, who you can identify with, who can be, for others, a source of inspiration? Tell me about that person and let’s tell the others his/her beautiful story. Write me at specialstories00@gmail.com, here, on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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