Newbie runner, Helen Moore is putting herself to the test this September as she prepares for the largest half marathon – the Great North Run – in memory of her dad, David who died from lung cancer last year.
“Lung cancer has touched my family more than once; my dad was first diagnosed in 2014 and lived for six long years before he passed. The same cancer took my Gran, Dad’s mum, away six years earlier.
One of my dad’s last wishes was that me and my siblings to take part in the Great North Run to help give those living with lung cancer that very important thing that has no price – time.
I’m not a runner and I am nervous about this event, but I’ve been training these past two months and started strength training to make sure I’m ready, although it’s been slow going due to a knee injury. My big sister Joanne ran the Great North Run last year and she assured me that it’s a wonderful experience and everyone there is on such a high!
During Dad’s lung cancer diagnosis, he was supported by Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, accessing information and advice as well as attending one of their support groups. It really helped him to better understand his diagnosis, what treatment options were available to him and how to live well with this disease.
Why I want to help
When my grandma passed away, I had this inexplicable need to help in some way, to help get rid of this horrible disease. So, in 2015, I completed a sky dive for Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation in her memory on what would have been her birthday.
My dad was diagnosed with the same disease not long after she died and his diagnosis came as a huge shock. We’d just been through the same journey with my grandma, and we had to start it again.
Throughout his lung cancer, Dad was stoic and brave. His first concern was for my mum and my five siblings. Even when he was sick, he watched out for us whilst handling his appointments, operations and scans. He was meticulous with his treatment and always called to give us updates.
I can still remember very distinctly the way my heart would skip when I answered my phone, and he was on the other end. Dad wasn’t a big phone talker and I’d wait to be told whether or not there was hope on the horizon.
Following dad’s diagnosis, I started running. It was a relief and really boosted my mood during lockdown. At the time, I had two young children. I was living with post-natal depression and I was living away from my family in Norfolk.
I felt helpless not being allowed to see my parents and it was painful for me to watch my dad get upset when he couldn’t hold his two-month-old nephew due to Covid risks.
Running made me leave that behind for a brief moment. Running also gave me time to appreciate what I have; my health, the easiness at which I can breathe and ability to move at my own pace.
Last year, we were all so inspired when Joanne completed the Great North Run for Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation. My dad, who was still alive at that time, was so proud of her and the money she raised.
My dad would have given anything to go for a walk around the block without struggling to breathe and that, alongside raising money for the charity that supported him, is why he wanted us to complete the Great North Run. It’s because we can.
I hope I make him proud. I hope he looks down from heaven and knows, on each run I and my siblings do, that this is for him and for all those who are with us who have the disease and those that aren’t.
I’m lucky that my family are very close. My little sister Lily sends us regular updates on her distances, and we all egg each other on.
My team at Lancaster Hospital where I’m an occupational therapist have also been wonderful and the physios in my team have all been on my back to make sure I’m getting my training in. One of my amazing colleagues, Sarah even got me running before work with her last week!
My patients also inspire me and even give me tips, only last week I had a 92-year-old advising me on how to keep my pace.
I’m so determined to not only complete the run but raise as much as I can. I’m a singer in a local band called The Cats. I love singing and anything musical and take after my dad who was also in a band back in the day so to make sure I get near my target I’m also facing one of my biggest fears… busking! My dad loved music and was very talented, so it seemed fitting!”
Show your support to Helen by visiting her Just Giving page today.