A boy from Newmarket will take part in the Simplyhealth Mini Great South Run in memory of his father who died when he was just three and a half months old.
5-year-old Stirling Klottrup will use his run to raise money for the Outward Bound Trust, a charity that was important to his father.
Stirling’s father, Christian Klottrup, died from bowel cancer aged just 35.
The family was living in the USA and Christian was fit and well until just after Stirling was born. He started getting what appeared to be liver pain and then couldn't eat. He went in to hospital and was told that he had stage IV bowel cancer.
He had an operation to remove a blockage but struggled with complications. He never left the hospital and sadly died 7 weeks later in October 2013.
The tragic loss of the husband and father was hard on the family and they decided to move back to the UK.
Stirling’s mother, Kerensa, said: “Christian didn't ever ask why me. He was frustrated with the way things were going and getting straight answers from medical staff but when he knew he was dying he said he'd had a good life and wanted to make sure that we would continue with our lives.
“It was incredibly tough to be in another country with a four month old baby and having to return to full time work as cell biologist for a biotech company. I needed a plan to move back to the UK. I didn't want to give up the life we had built together, but I needed to make the return a positive thing. It took me six months to make that happen but my company managed to transfer my job to our Cambridge UK site.
“Life was still tough but at least we could start rebuilding. Stirling was my rock, I was so grateful to have him to keep me going.
“We have since expanded our family to include my new husband Ian, his daughter Eleanor (7) and our daughter together, Beatrix (2).”
The 1st October will mark five years since they lost Christian so Kerensa and Stirling wanted to do something to celebrate his life.
They will use their run to donate money to the Outward Bound Trust that helped Christian to become the person he was. They aim to raise £350 for the charity.
The Outward Bound Trust is an educational charity that uses the outdoors to help young people to develop. They run adventurous and challenging outdoor learning courses that equip young people with valuable skills for education, work and life.
Christian went on an Outward Bound course when he was 17 that helped him to develop great leadership skills.
Kerensa added: “He was a natural leader and great with people. He could relate to anyone and made sure to include everyone. He was the centre of any party and had a great career ahead of him in IT.
“He would say that a lot of his skills and setting him on the right track had come from Outward Bound Trust and a general love of the outdoors.
“Outward Bound Trust provide additional funds to take young people who can't afford it on leadership courses. This helps them realise their full potential and equip them with team building skills so vital to leading a full life. I would love to see more people go on these courses.
“In Christian's case, no medical treatment could have helped him, he was diagnosed too late, but he lived such a full life in that short time.
“Before Stirling was born we had talked about our plans for the future. He wanted Stirling to do one of the Outward Bound courses too. He also wanted him to be generally outdoorsy and probably into computers and technology like he had been.”
Now Christian’s 5-year-old son is excited to run at the Simplyhealth Mini Great South Run in memory of his dad.
Kerensa added: “Stirling is full of life in every way. He's outgoing, fun and very affectionate.
“Stirling is still very much his own person and loves animals, particularly dogs and horses. He has a very natural way with animals. He's very empathetic. I could see that being a career for him.
“Running has always been part of our lives. I ran my first half marathon when I was pregnant with Stirling and it's something he has always enjoyed. Stirling's father, Christian, ran a 5k followed by a half marathon in Maryland shortly before was diagnosed with bowel cancer.
“Stirling is excited to be doing his first run. I suspect this will be the first of many.”
Stirling will run together with his mum on Saturday 20 October dressed as Peter Pan as the colours of the Outward Bound Trust are green and white. He will also cheer on his mum the following day when she takes on the 10 mile Simplyhealth Great South Run.
The Simplyhealth Junior & Mini Great South Run returns take place in Portsmouth, with almost 2,000 budding athletes, school friends and families taking on the 1.5k and 2.5k courses, which start and finish on Clarence Esplanade in Southsea.
It’s part of a great weekend of sport in the city, which includes the Simplyhealth Great South 5k and the South’s biggest running event, the Simplyhealth Great South Run, which will see over 20,000 people running in aid of fun, fitness and fundraising on Sunday 21 October.
For more information about the event, visit: Greatrun.org/South
To support their fundraising campaign, visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/kerensa-klottrup