Stuart is running the Virgin Money London Marathon for #TeamCampaign in memory of his mother-in-law, Pat. In his blog, he explains why, aged 45, he is doing it this year and what the journey means to him.
When the folks from Campaign asked me if I would be interested to write a blog about my marathon experience, I didn’t really hesitate to accept. I want to tell people why I am doing this challenge and why it’s so important to me to support this amazing charity which has the aim of researching the cure for breast cancer.
So why, in my 45th year when I have spent too much time building a business and not enough time keeping fit and spending more time with family, have I signed up to complete the London Marathon 2015? In this blog I will try to give you the background on why I’m doing it, how I have gone about fundraising, training, the ups, the downs and anything else I can think is worth sharing with you.
As odd as it may sound, I had never really thought about cancer affecting someone so close to me.
2014 was a hectic year for me as I lessened my work commitments and I had anticipated that in 2015 I would look to rebalance my life; give more time back to my beautiful family, put my business experience to good use by supporting a charitable organisation, and I wanted a physical challenge to push myself and raise some money for a worthwhile cause.
As I write this (13th February ’15) my life is not quite rebalanced just yet. However, I think my family are getting more from me, I am involved with a Hospice in Guernsey and I’m well on my way to raise a good pile of loot for Breast Cancer Campaign by running the London Marathon.
For the reason why I chose to support Breast Cancer Campaign, let’s go back to the start of the Millennium. I was living in Johannesburg and about to get married to my wonderful wife, Claire, when six weeks before our wedding day on 23rd December 2000, my mother-in-law-to-be, Pat, was diagnosed with breast cancer.
This was a huge shock to me. As odd as it may sound, I had never really thought about cancer affecting someone so close to me. This, on the back of both Pat’s sisters in England being diagnosed with breast cancer earlier in the year and successfully overcoming it.
To cut a long story short, we didn’t delay the wedding at Pat’s insistence; she had a mastectomy and was given the all clear by the doctors. We put the episode behind us and got on with our lives.
Jump forward nearly four years to 20th October 2003 my first daughter Lailie was born in Sandton Clinic, Johannesburg - a beautiful healthy daughter and first grandchild for my mother and father-in-law, Pat and John. Four days later, Pat was in hospital seriously ill. The breast cancer had returned.
This was an incredibly difficult time as Pat was going through radiation and chemotherapy, and Claire was learning all the things of being a mum for the first time. Pat was incredibly weak from the treatments and eventually lost her fight on May 31st 2004. I think she always knew this was inevitable, I certainly didn’t.
So, there I was in middle of last year applying for a ballot place in the 2015 London Marathon. I was unsuccessful, not surprisingly when it’s so popular, but with my rejection letter in October 2014 I discovered that Campaign remarkably still had spaces and they very kindly offered me a spot on their team.
At this point, the London Marathon was 6 months away… easy! Surely?!