Paula & Martin Sweeney of Hughenden, High Wycombe, completed the London Marathon in memory of their daughter, Chloe, who was stillborn 21 years ago, running “a mile for every birthday missed and a few extra for good luck.”
The sun shone and they were cheered on by family and friends as they ran the 26.2 mile route in 5 hours and 24 minutes, talking and smiling the whole way.
Exhausted but happy, Martin said:
“Today has been an absolute pleasure. It’s a massive achievement to get to the stage when you’re running such a distance having never thought it could happen. I started running 2 years ago and just didn’t know how I’d do it. I played football every week, but that was nothing compared to how I felt after even a 2 or 3 mile run.”
The pair chose to run the Marathon in aid of local charity, Child Bereavement UK which supported them after the death of their daughter, and have so far raised over £9,500.
Child Bereavement UK supports families and educates professionals when a baby or child of any ages dies or is dying or when a child faces bereavement.
“When your baby dies when she’s never even lived, you don’t have any memories, you have nothing. Training, fundraising and actually doing the marathon has given us a memory bank. I now just close my eyes and see all those smiling faces and they’re our Chloe memories now.
“Every mile we said Happy Birthday to Chloe and imagined what she would have been like. At mile 13 we talked about how she would have been a stroppy little madam, a real teenager, and at 18 how we’d probably have been picking her up from parties. This year she would have been 21 and when we reached that mile, we got a bit emotional and held hands for the rest of the race. We needed each other then.”
When asked about any particular highlights of the day, the pair said:
“From mile one, the crowds were superb and kept us going. Everyone, whether we knew them or not were behind us, wishing us well and shouting out our names. It really does give you faith in humanity.
“Turning into Pall Mall was also fantastic. When you’ve only ever seen it on TV and then you’re the one running down that stretch, it’s incredible. We weren’t in the lead or anywhere near the front, but it’s still such an experience.”
Feeling inspired to take part in the London marathon 2018? Ballots open on 1st May or you can apply for one of Child Bereavement UK’s places by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
“As much other charities might try, you can’t save everybody.
Children and adults die and that’s where Child Bereavement UK
unites everyone, helping to rebuild lives.”
– Paula & Martin Sweeney
Notes for Editors
Child Bereavement UK supports families and educates professionals when a baby or child of any age dies or is dying, or when a child is facing bereavement. Every year we train over 8,000 professionals, helping them to better understand and meet he needs of bereaved families.
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