Friday, 3 January 2014

24st to Marathon Man - the story so far

For those just joining the blog, a quick catch-up...

RUNNING anywhere on February 6 2013 was the furthest thing from my mind. My beautiful wife Diane had just lost her six-year fight against breast cancer. She died at 7.20am, before I could get to the hospital.
Fortunately, the previous evening, like every other evening that she had lain in hospital, I had kissed her on the forehead, told her yet again that I loved her and would always love her and said goodnight to her as she slept.
In the final days, she slept most of the time. She looked serene when she was asleep. So I would just sit beside her bed and hold her hand, and watch her.
I hoped she was dreaming. I hoped she was dreaming that she was well again, that we were laughing once more and that the pain had gone. Sweet dreams, my darling Diane.
After her death, I realised that I had to do something to help others who were going through what Diane and I had.
When Diane died, I was in poor health. I weighed nearly 24 stones, had Type 2 diabetes and struggled to get up a flight of stairs. I felt vulnerable and alone. So I decided to get fit.
When I joined a local gym in April, I couldn’t walk on a treadmill for more than a minute. Now, seven and a half stones lighter, I’m looking forward to running my first marathon around the streets of Rotterdam where Diane grew up.
By the time I line up at the starting point I will have lost 40% of my bodyweight, dropped eight inches off my waist and gone down six shirt sizes. All within a little over 12 months. And all inspired by Diane and the need to make a difference.
To make a difference to ease the strain and stress of people going through what we had to go through. And the best way for me to do that was to run and raise cash for Breast Cancer Care.
I discovered I loved running – after 40 years of couch potato life – and did my first 5K round Salford in Lancashire where Diane was born. And Diane ran with me. This wasn’t in memory of Diane or “for” Diane – it was “with” her. She was there every step of the way, driving me on and making sure I did it. Thanks to the generosity of friends and colleagues, that run raised a magnificent load of cash and I was hooked. Now for that marathon …
But there is nothing unique about my experience, nothing special. The heart-breaking scenario, where you are forced to watch a loved one be slowly taken from you, is being played out in families the length and breadth of the UK.
And luckily, the dedicated team at Breast Cancer Care is there to help. Which is why I’m telling you mine and Diane’s story in the hope you’ll support this marvellous charity through helping us.

There are loads of ways you can help. If you're running in 2014, run in aid of the campaign. If not, then just follow us on Twitter and retweet our messages to get them to as wide an audience as possible. And join us on facebook at 

Let's make 2014 the year everyone Runs With Diane.
This whole experience has transformed my life and now I work on behalf of Diane raising money for Breast Cancer Care.
You can too. Be inspired like I was.
Breast Cancer Care does amazing work for families affected by this terrible disease. More than 500,000 people are living with a diagnosis of breast cancer. 50,000 more will find out they have it in the next 12 months.
That’s 500,000 living with cancer, getting the kids ready for school with cancer, dashing off to work and grabbing a slice of toast with cancer, getting the evening meals ready with cancer, doing the weekly shop with cancer. There’s never anything you do without cancer casting a cloud over it.
More and more people are beating the disease, but too many still aren’t. They need your help.
Once you get that diagnosis, the sky falls in. And it’s too much to face everyday life on your own. Family members can struggle to cope too. You need help, support, guidance and someone who cares.
And that’s why the work of Breast Cancer Care is so important. Because that’s what they do – help, support, guide and care.
If you’re running in 2014, please run it in aid of Breast Cancer Care. Help them help people like us.
Do it for all the brave and courageous women who are getting through each day under the cloud of this terrible disease.
And for all the brave and courageous women - like Diane – who didn’t make it.


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