On Sunday 10th September drama teacher Helen ran the Great North Run to raise money for Candlelighters children's cancer charity. Helen explains why the charity means so much to her -
Well to start with it needs no further reason why I'm running for Candlelighters as the work they do is fantastic, however there is an additional, reason why I feel it's so important - a brave, sassy little girl called Elsa.
Elsa, forever 6, diagnosed in April 2016, age 2, with embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma presenting as a small tumour below her right nostril. Thought to be a cyst but post removal biopsy revealed cancer. An unexpected relapse in October 2018 identified a large tumour growing in her right jaw bone. Later identified through biopsy and MRI as spread of the initial cancer. Treatment yet again brutal but successful. In March 2020 stomach pains and a push for ultrasound testing, identified a large tumour on her liver and small growths in her stomach. CT revealing tumours also growing on her lungs. Elsa was almost 10 months into maintenance chemotherapy at this point. With no further treatment available, Elsa passed away 14th April 2020.
Although I was never lucky enough to meet Elsa, I am friends with her mum and couldn't help but hugely connect and empathise with Elsa's battle - my own little girl Annie was the same age, 6 - the difference being she is now 10 and Elsa is forever 6. On the day I found out that Elsa had passed away Annie, also age 6, took me by the hand, led me to the sofa and got me some tissues..... the moment made life feel so cruel sometimes.
Please sponsor me to support Candlelighters who have been a real help to Elsa's family and many more as well as funding research so that fewer families have to face childhood cancer.
It was a hot run and even as early as mile 4 I was feeling exhausted, but I just remembered Elsa, forever 6 x
Helen has already raised £600 for the fantastic cause, but anymore contributions via the link below will be gratefully received.