Monday, 25 November 2013

Bolton News, November 25, 2013

Former Bolton News man loses 40% of his weight to run in memory of his wife

My story, given a good show in the local paper yesterday. Thanks to everyone at the Bolton News, where I have fond memories of working back in the (very) early 90s.
Here’s the full text of it…

A former Bolton News journalist has pledged to lose 40% of his bodyweight in just over 12 months to run a marathon in memory of his wife who died of breast cancer.
Dave Beevers, of Smithills, Bolton, Lancs, who turned 58 last week, has already lost seven stones since January and aims to lose at least three more before he lines up with the other 10,000 runners at the start of the Rotterdam Marathon in April in the city where Diane spent her childhood.
So far, as well as the weight loss, Dave has dropped six shirt sizes and lost six inches off his waist.
He only joined the gym at Smithills Sports Centre in April which means when he lines up to start his big race next year it will have taken him less than 12 months to go from not being able to walk for more than a minute on a treadmill to running over 26 miles.
He is now a member of Burnden Road Runners, based at Smithills Sports Centre. Oh, and he aims to do the marathon in under four hours.

Wife Diane, a former licensee of the Sally Up Steps pub in Chorley Old Road (now the Nam Ploy Thai restaurant),  died of metastatic breast cancer on February 6 this year aged 71 after six years of treatment including a mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and tablets.
When she came off her five-year course of tablets last November, both she and Dave believed they had beaten the disease and started making plans for the future.
One of the plans which had been shelved during the illness was for Diane to take Dave to Rotterdam to show him where she grew up.
Sadly, it wasn't to be.
Diane complained of feeling unwell last Christmas and after a few weeks her condition worsened. She was rushed to hospital where scan revealed the cancer had returned with a vengeance. She died just six days after being admitted.
Dave said: "I just felt numb. I sat there in a side room on the ward and couldn't take it in. It seemed like one minute she was there and we were making plans and the next minute she was gone.
"I felt not just alone, I felt vulnerable and alone. After her funeral I realised how much in bad shape I was. I was nearly 24 stone, diabetic and could see me ending up in a wheelchair in a couple of years if I didn't do something.
"So I decided to join a gym and sort myself. I had no-one to fall back on for support now. It was up to me and me alone. I wasn't to become the sad, lonely, fat old man in the corner house I was determined to reinvent myself and make Diane proud."
He added: “I am not a runner, never have been. But I have become passionate about it and the only reason I can think of is that Diane has decided I needed to make a difference.”
Although Diane spent her childhood in Rotterdam, she was born in Salford. Dave decided to set himself a new goal he entered the City of Salford 5K in September and raised more than £1,600 for the charity Breast Cancer Care.
He was bitten by the running bug. Having not run for 40 years since he was at school, Dave suddenly found himself running 10Ks around the north west and then the idea of running a marathon in Diane's childhood city took shape.
Now he aims to raise a massive £100,000 for the charity through sponsorship and a series of fund-raisers leading up to his ultimate challenge next April.
He said: “I want to raise as much as I can for Breast Cancer Care and the amazing work they do with families affected by this horrendous disease and with people identifying with our story in Rotterdam as well as over here because of the links with Diane, I don’t see why we can’t smash through the target.”
To support his fund-raising activities, he has started the online community blog Running With Diane.
Dave explains: "Those three words sum up how I feel when I’m running. I didn't want people to say I was running 'in her memory' or 'for' her. To me, I was running WITH her and that was an important point for me to get across. She is my inspiration and driving force.
"Every time I run, she runs with me. We have done everything together for over 20 years. Why should now be any different?

"Cancer's not beaten her. It took her body but it couldn't touch what made her special. We'll always have that. Especially when we're running together."

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