JUST 14 months ago, Barry Edmondson was lying in a hospital bed, “praying to see tomorrow”.

Now the musician from Wimborne is defying the odds and training for the London Marathon to raise £2,000 for the charity Bowel and Cancer Research.

“Running the marathon is my big chance to give the disease the mighty two fingers and to prove that I won’t be beaten by it,” said the former pupil of Queen Elizabeth School in Wimborne. “I was an avid long-distance runner before I became ill and I’ll be damned if I let the disease take that from me. I will be denying Crohn’s that victory at least.”

Barry, 29, who is the lead singer with local band The Benedicts, became ill in April 2011. But it was 18 months before he was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, a chronic inflammation of the intestine for which there is treatment, but no cure.

He spent weeks in hospital, in great pain, not knowing what was wrong with him, and he lost two stone, dropping to nine stone.

“My mother was amazing. If it hadn’t been for her insistence with the doctors, I’m sure I’d be dead,” he said.

He is now managing Crohn’s with medication and a strict diet, and receives IV infusions every eight weeks.

His mum Julie and dad Bryan will be cheering Barry on in London on April 13, along with his three sisters Heather, Hazel and Holly, and friends. Barry represented Dorset in the 100m in his teens and was a member of the Wimborne Athletics Club. He also had trials for Bournemouth FC.

“I’ll be running the marathon for my granddad and mum who are both survivors of cancer. It’s also a fantastic opportunity to raise money for Bowel and Cancer Research so it can continue the research it does into my condition and other related illnesses.”

A free fundraising gig by The Benedicts will be held on Saturday, February 22, 7.30pm, at Wimborne Town Football Club. For more information about the event, email barryedmondson@outlook.com

To sponsor Barry, visit virginmoneygiving.com/RunBarryRun and bowelcancerresearch.org