On the 22 May 2017 our lives were changed forever when our youngest daughter, Freya, was seriously injured in the MEN Arena Attack; her friend, Nell, was tragically killed. For the next five weeks Freya was cared for by the wonderful staff at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital. She continues to be a regular visitor to the hospital as an outpatient and has further surgery planned there this year.
Prior to the 22 May, I enjoyed running for exercise, regularly
doing a 6K circuit 2 to 3 times a week. After the attack, I did on one occasion when I was struggling try running again, but it’s a time that I tend to think and I found it impossible to cope with my memories and emotions. I didn’t run again in 2017.
In January this year I was contacted by RMCH asking whether
I was willing to be involved in their fundraising activity for the 2018 Great Manchester Run 10K. I was torn between the desire to do anything that I could to help the hospital and my concern about the effect that running again would have on my state of mind. However, later in the month I decided to give it a try and was pleased to find that I could deal with the emotional side of things; it was just the physical element that was a problem!
Hence, on the 20 May 2018 I will be wearing my Humphrey T
Shirt with pride and running around Manchester to raise money for RMCH. When I am running, I will be thinking of all of the 22 people who needlessly lost their lives on that horrific night, their families, and the hundreds of other people injured and affected by the atrocity.
Last year we set up a Just Giving page in Freya’s name and
raised over £24,000 for RMCH through peoples overwhelming generosity. In some ways, I feel guilty now asking for people to donate more money. However, I also agreed to be part of RMCH promotional video for the Manchester 10K. A link to the video is provided below. The shame that I have put both myself and my family through in appearing in this film must be worth a few quid!
On 07 March, Freya decided that she wanted to run (or maybe walk!) the Junior Run on 20 May, which is 2.5k. She was due to have surgery the previous week, but the hospital has kindly deferred this so that she is able to do the run. Needless to say, we are incredibly proud of our daughter who amazes us more with every passing day.
Thanks for reading.