Sheffield runners set to make marathon effort for charities

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Just weeks after her beloved dad lost his battle with cancer, a brave Sheffield woman is aiming to complete a half marathon in his memory.

Emma Sheehan, aged 23, from Crosspool, plans to run the Plusnet Yorkshire Half Marathon in Sheffield to raise cash for the city’s Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity after her dad, Dave Sheehan, 56, died in February.

Emma signed up for the 13-miler last year, not realising that her dad would not be there to support her.

Dave was diagnosed with bowel and peritoneal cancer last June and underwent radiotherapy and chemotherapy at Weston Park Hospital, but he could not be saved.

“It’s been an incredibly difficult few months,” said Emma.

“We are all still coming to terms with the loss of my dad and the huge void he has left.

“Back in June 2015 when he was first diagnosed, I knew that I had to do something to raise money in support of this incredible hospital that had looked after us all so well. I signed up for The Plusnet Half Marathon and vowed to raise money for the place which had extended dad’s life so that we were able to spend those precious final months with him.”

Emma, who has already raised over £1,000, added: “I know he’d have been so proud of me on the day when I reach the finish line and the more money I can raise beforehand will allow other families living with a cancer diagnosis to receive the support and care they so desperately need.”

Sarah Cross, fundraising manager for the charity, said, “It’s incredibly brave of Emma to continue her fundraising efforts for us despite losing her dad only a few weeks ago.”

Friends and relatives of a baby girl who passed away at Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice are preparing to run the half marathon in her memory.

Harriet Sayers, from Northern Ireland, was born with a serious heart condition and was treated in Birmingham before spending her final days at Bluebell Wood, Rotherham.

Her aunt, Gail Widdowson, from Chesterfield, is one of the family members taking part in the fundraiser.

“For me to see my sister and brother-in-law, as well as their three-year-old daughter, completely relax at Bluebell Wood was a massive relief. They just looked so peaceful.

“Staff were there to help with all the practical things. We had time to all say bye properly.

“It was such a special moment for Helen to hold Harriet when she passed away and being at Bluebell Wood meant that could happen.

“I knew that I wanted to do something for Bluebell Wood as Helen, Mark and our family were so well supported by the charity. It’s just good to give something back to a charity that’s helped us all so much.” 

There will be more than 80 runners altogether raising cash for Bluebell Wood, which costs £4 million a year to keep open.

Cystic fibrosis sufferer Emily Burgin is hoping to put her own difficulties to the back of her mind as she runs the half marathon to raise money for another city woman with the same condition.

Emily, 21, has been sponsored to run the race to raise cash for family friend Blaire Webb, from Hillsborough, whose friends and relatives are trying to raise £50,000 to enable her to travel to the Dominican Republic for potentially life-changing treatment not available in the UK.

Emily, from Bradfield, who is studying psychology at Sheffield Hallam University, said: “I have done a few 10Ks before but this will be my first half marathon.

“I am looking forward to it but I’m a bit nervous and anxious as well.

“My lung function is lower than that of most people and I also have brittle bones.

“When it was PE at school I was told I could sit it out but I want to run races to show that people with CF can do these sort of things.”

Staff at Sheffield-based Spear & Jackson Group, Atlas, are taking part in the half marathon for Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity.

They hope to raise £5,000 during 2016, with a series of fundraising activities, including the race.

Divisional managing director Steve White said: “The S&J Group is a group of companies with roots in Sheffield dating back to 1760.

“Western Park Hospital is an exceptional landmark in our beloved steel city, and it is crucial to the community and the surrounding area. Our team will be fundraising for those that we have lost, for those that continue to fight, and for those who care for and support people whose lives have been affected by cancer.”