Val Takes On Bristol 10K In Memory Of Husband

To enter the Simplyhealth Great Bristol 10k visit:

A woman is set to take on a 10k challenge in memory of her husband after she decided to turn her life around following his tragic death.

Valerie Bennett, from the Mendip Hills, was left devastated when her husband Don was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2013.

Tragically, despite undergoing chemotherapy treatment, brave Don lost his battle with the disease three years later aged 56.

Don’s diagnosis came after he started having shoulder pain from an old injury and went through surgery.

When the operation and painkillers did not have an effect, he was sent for a scan which revealed a small mark on his lung. Following further tests and scans, Don was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, which was a huge shock to him and his family as he had lived a very healthy life.

Valerie found it hard to cope with the pain of losing Don, but remained determined to keep his memory alive and began fundraising for Cancer Research UK.

Over the last year, by taking up running and signing up to fundraising events, she completely transformed her lifestyle and managed to lose four stone in weight.

Her next challenge for the charity is the Simplyhealth Great Bristol 10k, which takes place on Sunday 13 May.

Valerie, 59, said: “Don was 56 when he died and he was such an amazing husband. “He was very loving and everyone knew him well as he farmed all of his life. People find it hard to believe but we never argued and spent almost 24 hours a day together!

“In 2013 he started having shoulder pain from an old injury and visited his doctor. Following surgery and many painkillers we were surprised when he said that the pain hadn’t gone away.

“Following scans, doctors found a small mark on his lung which was then diagnosed as lung cancer. We were devastated when we were told that it would be terminal and couldn’t believe what was being said to us because he was a healthy and fit person and had never smoked.

“Don was so brave and faced his illness head on. He never complained or worried about his fate and wanted to make sure he lived his life to the fullest.

“I found his illness and passing so hard because I looked after him, made sure I did everything for him and he was my world.

“As time went on, I decided to follow in Don’s footsteps and made sure that I lived my life to the fullest and that’s why I started supporting Cancer Research UK.

“I took up running and trained every day to take on my first fundraiser for them. Last year I lost a total of four stone and completely changed my lifestyle.”

The Simplyhealth Great Bristol 10k takes place in Bristol city centre and features over 13,000 participants who set themselves a personal challenge each year. Participants start their journey good and finish greater when they take on the picturesque course that makes the most of the awe-inspiring surroundings of the city.

Valerie, who is a primary school worker, hopes to raise awareness about the early signs of cancer so that more people can beat the disease.

The 10k this spring will be the furthest she has ran and she is also planning a 100km walk across the Cotswolds in July. She added:

“I think Don would be so proud of my fundraising and weight loss because taking on these kind of physical challenges is something that I never thought I would be able to do.

“Obviously it’s a cause that is really close to my heart and I hope that more people are made aware of the symptoms of cancer and to speak to someone about them if you experience them.

“I am starting my year of challenges this year with the Simplyhealth Great Bristol 10k because I think it’s going to be something that is tough but that I can face head on, just like Don did.”

To enter the Simplyhealth Great Bristol 10k visit: