I'm back ... and once again on a mission. I've been training very hard since the start of the year and have clocked up over 500 miles so far during 2018. In 3 weeks time I will be running the Manchester marathon, followed by the Brighton marathon the weekend after, and finally the London marathon the weekend after that. That's 3 marathons in 15 days.
You can sponsor me by texting SFSF50 £3 to 70070.
This year I'm running for the Smiles for Stanley Fund at Solving Kids' Cancer (https://www.facebook.com/pg/SmilesForStanley), which raises money to fund vital research into neuroblastoma, to provide children in the UK with more and better treatment options. Only through scientific research will more children be cured of this evil disease that steals children before they've even got started in life, shattering dreams and wrecking lives as it does so.
Stanley was diagnosed at 18 months - the average age at which children are diagnosed with neuroblastoma. He has the most gorgeous and infectious smile you could ever see - I would look at photos of Stanley and inevitably find myself smiling back at him. But now amidst that smiling back I also feel a profound sense of sadness too. For in October last year, despite months of gruelling and intensive chemotherapy, and major surgery lasting 8.5 hours, Stanley's tumours suddenly and unexpectedly came back even before all of his treatments could be completed. Less than 3 weeks later, aged just 2 years and 11 days, Stanley died.
Neuroblastoma is an evil disease, that takes on many forms. Stanley and Adam were at opposite ends of the spectrum; Stanley, whose disease initially responded to treatment but was ultra-aggressive and returned with a vengeance, Adam, whose disease was resistant to treatment and merely temporarily halted by it but eventually started to grow again slowly yet relentlessly. The two of them united by neuroblastoma's deadly intent.
If we don't dedicate ourselves to funding and furthering research in pursuit of a cure for neuroblastoma there will be many more Stanleys, and many more Adams. We have to do better than we are now. The memories of our beloved children should demand it of us.
So here I am supporting Stanley's parents, Sarah and Paul, as they honour their son by raising money to try and prevent other families from going through the same unimaginable pain of losing a child.
And here I am again asking for your support, despite having done so repeatedly since Adam died.
Because neuroblastoma won't wait and won't stop, so nor can we until it's defeated.