10th June 2020

Trish Henners

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When Trish was looking for a charity to support in 2020, she came across us and the decision was suddenly very easy. Whilst coronavirus has put a halt to many of her fundraising plans, she refuses to let anything get in her way to help others.

“My dad was called Roy. He was a northerner and a musician. He was my world. It didn’t matter that he wasn’t my biological father; he was my dad and my mum’s soulmate. They found each other later in life after both going through somewhat topsy-turvy experiences. Life was good and they were so happy. We all were.

My dad was quite a heavy smoker, but he gave it up when my eldest son, Ryan, was born as he didn’t want him to be around anyone that smoked.  He did his best to give up and was doing so well. Although I knew he was still smoking a little, I was so proud of him for trying. He doted on Ryan. They were like Batman and Robin!

Over the next few years though, Dad’s mood began to change. He was going from being such a happy man to becoming grumpy. Then, in January 2002, he collapsed at work. They had to revive him and rushed him to hospital.

Dad spent six weeks in hospital. He lost so much weight and, heartbreakingly, was not the man I used to know – physically or emotionally.

A month later, Mum went in to visit and was called to see the consultant. It was then that our world crashed. The consultant told her that Dad had terminal lung cancer which had spread to his brain. They also suspected it was in his bones as well. We were told we’d be lucky if he was still with us in six months.

Then next day, I sat outside his hospital room as the consultant told my dad what was happening. My heart was broken into pieces. I could hear Mum crying. All Dad could say was “Will I get to see Ryan and Josh grow up?”

Dad came home and, knowing that time was precious, he decided to withdraw from any treatment as it wouldn’t enhance his time. He thought he would just end up drained that we wouldn’t gain anything from it.

I decided to help Mum and Dad to renew their wedding vows and to give him a happy day to go to heaven with. I honestly didn’t think Dad would be there as he was just so ill. We were ready to cancel everything, but Dad said he would do his best.

My hero did it! I walked my dad down the aisle to meet Mum. He was so frail and tired, but the day was amazing. We had a few friends and family there and we all knew it would be the last time they got to see Dad.

During the following days, Dad deteriorated and he couldn’t get out of bed. One evening, I had a call to say he had to go into hospital. I rushed there and I knew what was going to come. I washed Dad, cleaned his face, sponged his mouth and lips, and got him moved into a quiet room. His last ever words were “I’m sorry and I love you.”

My brother and I had gone into the kitchen at the moment Dad passed away. Mum, I think, had nipped to the bathroom. We were told he waited for us all to leave the room.

That was when I started a fresh new life for me, and my boys, and my love of fitness came in. I decided to start raising money for the charities to help stop others suffering. I also want to try and show my kids that you can be strong, independent and be good in this world, and do anything you put your mind to!

Every year I chose charities that have a meaning to me. I was on the look for my next charity as I had so much planned for 2020. My dad’s name was Roy, so when I came across the Swimathon for Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation last November I knew I had to sign up! I pledged to swim 10 miles over the month. I know you can’t keep asking people for money, so every time I hit a milestone, I often donate my own money!

2020 was meant to be my mental year of challenges, with various half marathons and even marathons signed up for, but COVID-19 has put a stop to so much. However, these races may have been cancelled but Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation is still working hard and providing support to people who need it, so I knew I had to find a way to support them. I want to help people living with lung cancer and make sure their loved ones have the support they need.

I’m currently participating in the I Love the 90’s virtual run, having pledged to run a marathon over the month of June. I’m looking forward to sending across my fundraising money once I’ve completed the distance. I also want to carry on next year with my support to Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation with the races that I will be doing. I know I have two triathlons to accomplish!

Everything I do has Dad at the back of my head, supporting me all the way. He was such a fun-loving man just like Roy Castle himself and I couldn’t think of anyone better to support and hopefully help a little through these testing times.

This is why I’m supporting such an amazing charity and why is was just meant to be. Two amazing men named Roy.”