Emma Running Great Bristol 10K In Husband’S Memory

Entries are still open for the Great Bristol 10k, visit greatrun.org/great-bristol-10k

A BRISTOL mum whose husband died of bowel cancer is taking on the Great Bristol 10K to raise money for the hospice that looked after him in his final days.

Emma Wood, of Downend, was inspired to start running in January after husband Stephen tragically died last November after being diagnosed with terminal cancer only six months earlier.

The 6.2-mile run through Bristol on Sunday, May 15, will be Emma’s first 10km running event, with the 40-year-old mother of two using her running as a therapy after a traumatic year.

“I’ve been training with my two sisters who are running with me, my boys go to the local school who have started a running club, so I’m running with them a bit as well,” said Emma, whose children Freddie, nine, and Arthur, five, will be supporting her on the day.

“I started running in January after Stephen died. It’s helped me mentally, just to get out and do something.

“I can do it in my spare time, I can fit it in around the boys, and it just happened that the local school started a running club, so when I drop the boys off at school, I stay and run with the club, and it has gone on from there.

“I enjoy it. It’s a good group of people who I run with, it takes my mind off things for a little while. It’s a good way to clear the head a bit, and puts things into perspective while I’m out.”

The Woods’ world was torn apart when Stephen, an estate agent, was diagnosed with bowel cancer in April, which had already spread to four other parts of his body.

He was looked after by St Peter’s Hospice, who have also provided support for the rest of the family in the wake of his death – and Emma, a residential care worker in a children’s home, wishes to repay the goodwill shown from the hospice.

“It has been an incredibly emotionally traumatic time,” said Emma, who recently completed a 35km bike ride to raise money for the hospice. “Steve stopped work at the end of March because he couldn’t work as his back was so bad, and I stopped in April to care for him at home.

“He was in a wheelchair in August and we had a hospital bed in the lounge downstairs, so he tried to carry on as much as normal with the boys. Steve was completely wheelchair-bound.

“St Peters supported us amazingly. The only people that really helped us and supported us as a family were St Peters.

“The boys had music therapy when we found out Steve wasn’t going to get better and we spoke to somebody there and that’s continued since Steve died. “They are there for us now and we want to thank them for that.”

Emma and Stephen were determined to make the most of their final weeks together and married in September, through the help of charity The Wedding Wishing Well, who helped organise the couple’s happy day, and Emma plans to raise money for them through future events.

“Getting married should be one of those really special, exciting experiences,” said Emma, whose wedding took place at The Grange Hotel in Bristol. “But while we were doing it, even trying on a wedding dress, didn’t have the same kind of feeling as it would have for most people.

“So they really helped with that experience. They pretty much organised the day, we just turned up and they did all the preparation, sorting out a lot of things to make the day really special, some extra things that we wouldn’t have thought of.”

Emma still struggles to come to terms with Stephen’s death, but is comforted by the fact that Freddie and Arthur are dealing with the trauma admirably.

“It is still very raw,” admitted Emma. “On the whole, the kids only being five and nine, they’re resilient. But they’re very sad.

“When Freddie turned nine he was upset that his dad couldn’t be there for his football party. Recently, Freddie has started training with the Bristol City academy which his dad would have been so proud of, being a Bristol City fan.

“They will be there cheering me on through this run. They are supportive which I think is a good thing. I am looking forward to it, though it will be emotional for me. You get a high and then that turns into a low. It will be the same for the Great Bristol 10K.”

Entries are still open for the Great Bristol 10k, visit greatrun.org/great-bristol-10k

To donate to St Peter’s Hospice, visit http://www.stpetershospice.org.uk/