There are many stories behind the footsteps of Run Dem and this is just one we thought we would share. For the Marie Curie Stories project Camilla breaks it down.
Just over a year ago, my Dad was diagnosed with stomach cancer. As keen runner and practically T-total this came as a massive blow to him and the rest of the family. I remember running with him the Christmas before the chemo started, he was determined to beat cancer and believed that running would help aid his recovery.
What we didn’t realise was how severe his reaction to the treatment would be. Steadily over the next year we watched him become increasingly weaker and more emaciated. Every step of the way he was convinced he had a handle on the disease; that sooner or later he would return to his old self. Sadly, stomach cancer is extremely hard to treat (the 2nd most common cause of cancer death) and at the beginning of December last year, our worst fears were confirmed. Despite all the treatment and having been told months earlier he was “cancer free” it had returned and he was deemed “terminal”. My mum read that a phrase I’ll never forget - “stomach cancer is the colonel in the army of cancer.”
He returned home to spend his final days with his family. Marie Curie were able to spend 3 days with us, helping care for him and offering us much-needed support at such an emotional time. After this initial time, a shortage in funding meant that the NHS provided a private care service, which was barely comparable. Despite only being there for such a short period of time, we, my Dad and the rest of the family, couldn’t believe the exceptional level of care that Marie Curie had given us; so giving, informative, warm and supportive. We spent his final month together, seeing in Christmas, his 62nd birthday on December 29thand New Year, before his passing on January 4th.
He was the man that introduced me to running all those years ago, and it was something that even when on his death bed, he was proud of, exclaiming: “look at her, isn’t it amazing that she runs?! I think it’s fantastic.”
I promised him I would try and help this charity that gave us so much support, hopefully by running the London Marathon, in order to help other patients benefit from its amazing work.