Brother To Make Heartfelt Tribute To ‘Amazing’ Sister
The brother of a Birmingham doctor who was tragically killed while they cycled together in Edgbaston will make an emotional return to the scene of the accident when he takes on the Simplyhealth Great Birmingham Run.
Drew Bull will lead a group of family and friends at the city's annual half marathon on Sunday, October 14 in memory of his younger sister Suzanna – almost a year to the day since she died.
He was cycling with 32-year-old Suzanna, who was on a six-month GP training placement at Birmingham Children's Hospital, when her bike was in collision with a lorry at the junction of Pershore Road and Edgbaston Road last October.
Now Drew, 35, will revisit the scene of the accident during the Simplyhealth Great Birmingham Run as it features twice on the 13.1-mile course. Suzanna was due to take part in last year's event but died just five days before.
Other members of Drew's eight-strong running group, which is expected to increase further, include girlfriend Amber Morrish, 27, who he lives with in Bristol, Suzanna's friends Sarah Martin, 28, from Bourneville, and Haydn Griffith-Jones, 29, of Solihull, plus his own pal Bashaar Boyce, 32, and wife Cath, 29.
The UK's second biggest half marathon starts and finishes in the city centre, taking in such iconic sites as the Selfridge's building, Edgbaston Stadium, Cannon Hill Park and Cadbury World along the way.
The group will be raising funds to thank Birmingham Children's Hospital for its support since Suzanna's death.
Event organisers, the Great Run Company, have also reserved two special numbers for Drew and Amber to wear on the day. Drew will wear 1985, the year of Suzanna's birth, and Amber 210, the day (2nd) and month (October) Suzanna was born.
Drew wearing his Birmingham Children's Hospital vest and the Suzanna tribute run numbers he and Amber will wear
“It will be a very emotional day,” admitted Drew who, like his sister, completed a medical degree at University of Birmingham and is now a GP in Bristol.
“The half marathon route takes you down both sides of the Pershore Road, so we'll go past the accident scene twice.
“It will be very hard, but it may also be therapeutic and make us stronger. I did start picturing what it will be like but had to put it to the back of my mind because it was so upsetting. But I'm sure we'll be ready to face it when the day comes.
“Suzie was looking forward to running the half marathon last year. We'll now be running it in her memory.”
Drew, who ran the Simplyhealth Great Birmingham Run with his sister four years ago, admits he is unsure how he will react when he reaches the junction of Pershore and Edgbaston roads.
Drew with Suzanna (right) and Amber after completing the 2016 Bristol Half Marathon
“Amber ran the Bristol Half Marathon with Suzie and I in 2016 and it was Amber's idea to run in Suzie's memory,” added Drew, who recently spent a month volunteering with his girlfriend in Panama, providing essential medical care with the Floating Doctors charity.
“I honestly don't know what I'll do on the day. When I reach the scene, I may decide to stop and reflect or may get too emotional and sprint past.
“I'll probably do what feels natural on the day. The same goes for the others. One thing I will do is place flowers there the day before.
“Suzie had such a positive outlook on life. She was bubbly, adventurous, hard-working and put others first. I miss her terribly.
“When I applied to enter the run and typed in my reasons for taking part, I got very emotional.
“Things like that catch you off guard. I still wake up thinking ‘I haven't spoken to my sister for a while, I must call her'. Or I watch a programme and think ‘I must tell her about that'. Then I realise she's no longer with us.”
The siblings, whose half-brother Jeremy, 47, lives in Cardiff, grew up in Farnsfield, a Nottinghamshire village where parents Peter and Elayne still live. Suzanna was laid to rest there.
Suzanna kisses her medal after the 2014 Great Birmingham Run
The accident created national headlines and Suzanna's death prompted hundreds of cyclists to gather for a ‘slow ride' vigil along the busy Bristol and Pershore roads a week later.
“I think about the accident every day,” admitted Drew.
“When I realised what had happened, I was in total shock.
“An ambulance arrived and tried to help. We headed to hospital and I was just hoping there was a small chance she would be ok, but it wasn't to be.”
Drew added: “I joined the vigil and the turnout was huge. What was incredible was most cyclists had never met Suzie but came out to honour her memory as they had a common cause. They were cyclists like her and knew what happened to her could happen to anyone. Going back to the scene so soon afterwards, especially on my bike, was really tough.
“I started cycling again in April after six months without getting on a bike. I knew the longer I left it the harder it would be. I was nervous, but I also knew it would be ok. I needed a reason to start cycling again so I signed up for a triathlon."
To sponsor Drew and his friends visit justgiving.com/fundraising/suzannabull
Anyone who entered the Simplyhealth Great Birmingham 10k will receive a £10 discount on their entry fee for the Simplyhealth Great Birmingham Run. To enter click here