Penistone mum May Williams ran half marathon in unicorn costume to keep promise to sick daughter

A South Yorkshire mum who ran a half marathon dressed as a unicorn to fulfil a promise to her sick daughter is taking on another big challenge for her inspirational seven-year-old.

Saturday, 28th December 2019, 10:00 am
May Williams, who is running Sheffield Half Marathon for Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice to thank them for their support, and her daughter Molly

May Williams agreed to the quirky request after her daughter Molly, who has a rare genetic condition that weakens muscles and affects movement, was critically ill following a 10-hour operation.

Now the mum of three is taking on the Sheffield Half Marathon in March for Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice, who have supported the family since Molly was diagnosed with SMA Type 1 in 2014.

“She was in a really bad condition and developed breathing difficulties after the operation last year,” said NHS midwife May, aged 35, from Penistone.

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“Intensive care is a very lonely place so you have plenty of time to reflect. I thought if Molly can get through this kind of struggle, I need to push myself to do something big.

“So I promised Molly that if she could get out of bed, I’d run a marathon dressed as anything she’d like.”

Molly battled on and was able to leave hospital three weeks later, complete with metal rods to help correct a 90-degree curve in her spine.

Molly’s recovery from the operation was a slow and difficult process but the determined youngster is now feeling the benefit of the surgery.

When her mum donned the bright unicorn costume for the Worksop Half Marathon in October, it was worth the wait.

“Molly absolutely loved it and thought it was hilarious,” said May. “She was telling everyone and she even went straight to the radio stand and told them why I was doing it.”

May is now taking on the Sheffield Half Marathon to support the hospice, which has become the family’s home away from home.

“When we started visiting Bluebell Wood it became the one day of the month when I was just a mum, not a carer,” she said.

“Since Molly started school my husband Julian and I now use the overnight respite care service which is just incredible. There’s no-one else in the world who can do that for us.”

The hospice has to raise £4 million each year.

Anna Gott, community fundraiser at Bluebell Wood, said: “Molly and May really are an inspirational team and we’re delighted she’s taking on the Sheffield Half Marathon for us.

“We’d love to hear from any runners who’d like to take on the Sheffield Half or any of the other fantastic local races in support of Bluebell Wood.

“It costs over £4 million to keep our doors open for local families so every penny raised really does make a huge difference.”