Inspired by her grandfather’s words, 44-year- old Emma Peters from Berwick plans to complete her very own Great North Run in memory of her brave mum and godson.
Despite having no previous running experience, Emma has spent the past nine months training for the world’s largest half marathon.
With more than 60,000 runners due to take part in the 40th Great North Run this year, the event was set to be its biggest ever.
Emma was disappointed on June 15 when the event was cancelled as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, but she is determined to complete the 13.1 miles on September 13. She now intends to complete the miles at home in Berwick using the Strava app in memory of two very special people.
In 2003, Emma’s mum Gillian underwent treatment following an ovarian cancer diagnosis.
Just a year later Emma’s godson Jack was diagnosed with Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare and aggressive soft tissue cancer which sadly took his life in 2006 at just 10-years-old.
Gillian enjoyed many happy years watching granddaughters Jade and Leanne growing up but sadly in 2011, the cancer returned and in April 2015 she also lost her fight aged 61.
Emma now wants to celebrate their lives by giving back to the hospital which cared for her mum:
“I’ve chosen to raise money for Charlie Bear for Cancer Care as both mum and Jack had connections to the fund which bring back fond memories for me.
“When mum first had cancer, she had her chemo at the General Hospital. I remember her getting bandanas and we got a Charlie Bear key ring. When it came back the second time, we went to the Freeman Hospital. Over those four years, we made a wonderful friendship with Michelle the manager of the lovely Charlie Bear shop.
“Mum would buy head scarves and other things. I always bought a gift of some sort, it became a standing joke of ‘what would I buy today’. Jack’s also had one of the Charlie Bear teddy bears which was given to him by staff at the General for being brave and he loved it dearly.”
Speaking about why she decided to start running Emma says: “My grandad was my hero and he would walk for miles and miles and always encouraged me to be active. He told me you can do anything you set your mind to.
“My mum was my best friend; we would chat for hours every day. When she passed, I gave a donation to Charlie Bear as she had requested in her will and I joined Slimming World as she had also encouraged me to sort my weight out. I have lost over three stone since and gained some confidence along the way.
“One day when I was at the hospital with a friend, I spotted Michelle and she gave me such a big hug, she obviously noticed the weight loss. Over the years she would say that I should do the Great North Run for the charity. But being overweight and lacking in self-confidence, as well as the fact I had never ran in my life, I would just laugh it off.
“This time however, with my mum and grandad’s words in mind, I committed to sign up to go the Great North Run and I’ve been training ever since.
“Up until September last year I can honestly say I’ve never ran; I have osteoarthritis in my knees and psoriatic arthritis in other joints as well as asthma, so I wasn’t sure how I’d get on. Well I’m loving it and even though I’m disappointed I won’t get to experience the real Great North Run this year, I’m so looking forward to completing the miles Charlie Bear!