The Magnificent Seven plus me!
Written by Gez Thompson
My brother Mark was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer in February this year. Unfortunately he’s been told the cancer is inoperable and has spread to his liver, lungs and bones. He is only 55 years old.
Despite the usual feelings of great sadness and despair, I also felt frustrated that I could not help in any practical way. So I decided to try and raise some money for Bowel Cancer UK by doing the one thing that I know I can do - run. Given that Cardiff was my and my brother's home city, I thought it was fitting to run the Cardiff Half Marathon.
Whilst I am a keen runner and have run quite a few half marathons before, including this one on two previous occasions, I am not getting any younger. What better way to help my weary legs than to persuade my brother's seven (yes seven!) children to come and join me to raise awareness and money for this great charity.
He is a remarkable man with seven magnificent children.
It didn't take much persuasion. They were all up for it, especially in March with over six months until the run, long before the 13.1 mile course had drained all the energy in those young legs. Training went well for most of them, although I am not convinced that my eldest niece Millie's seven night Ibiza holiday, a week before the race, actually helped much.
Thanks to so many generous people we managed to raise over £4,500. We had great support on the day at various stages of the race from family (including my brother) and friends.
For those of you that are considering doing a half marathon to help fundraise you may like my youngest nephew Solomon's response as he crossed the line: "That was sheer hell. I'm never doing that again." Some two hours later, after having some refreshments and some much deserved food, he was relaying to us that it wasn't all that bad. Now he is considering doing another half marathon!
My brother continues to have regular chemotherapy while the medical team do all that they can to help slow the growth of the tumours. He is a remarkable man with seven magnificent children.