A father and his three sons are running The Great North Run in memory of their mother after she passed away from ovarian cancer 10 years ago.
Anne Davidson was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and treated at The Christie in 2002, her cancer then returned, and she passed away in 2005.
Her husband, Alex Davidson, 70, originally from Tynemouth in Northumberland and now living in Holmes Chapel, was so impressed with the care and treatment Anne received he has been fundraising for the specialist cancer centre ever since, and is a public governor for The Christie chairing the quality and standards committee.
Alex says: “Anne and I had been married for 38 years when she died, I was devastated, we had known each other since we were 17 where we met at the local church group.
It was such a shock when Anne took ill in 2002 with ovarian cancer. She was treated for two and a half years at The Christie and she was even given the all clear at one point but two months after, the cancer had returned and she died in 2005. This is when I got more involved with The Christie and decided to become a public governor, I wanted to be on the quality and standards committee particularly, as I wanted to know that patients would continue to get the amazing treatment Anne received.
Alex and his three sons, Iain, 44 who lives in Holmes Chapel, Alan, 41 who lives in Bolton, and John, 37 who lives in Inverness are running The Great North Run, joining 56,000 runners on Sunday 11th September in Newcastle, to mark the tenth anniversary of Anne’s death. This will be the 30th year that Alex has participated in the run but the first time he has run it with all three of his sons.
He says: “The run is so well organised and the camaraderie and the number of charities being run for is amazing. It’s not a run to do a personal best in as it is so busy, but the support lines the whole route, there’s bands and charity support, every mile or so there’s always something happening. I can’t wait to run it this year with my sons.”
Alex has raised an incredible £12,000 for The Christie charity since he started fundraising 10 years ago. He has participated in numerous runs and cycle rides and even climbed Mount Kilimanjaro.
He says: “My first reaction when I came to The Christie was ‘what on earth are all these people doing here?’ I was so shocked. I’d been fortunate and hadn’t come across anyone who had cancer apart from my wife. I don’t know what I had envisaged but it certainly wasn’t the amount of people I saw getting treatment. It stunned me into helping, not just for Anne, but for all the people going through what we were going through.”
And if you walk around the hospital, like I have for the last 12 years, you can see where your fundraising helps. The chemotherapy suite looks completely different as does the teenage and young adult unit. And, most importantly, the survival rates for ovarian cancer have increased, thanks to the investment in research.
Alex is now married to Dorothy and has six children and thirteen grandchildren, and lives very happily in Holmes Chapel.
Alex’s son Iain says: "I'm so proud of Dad running his 30th Great North Run. It’s such an achievement and I love telling people about it. It's fantastic that he's stayed so active and I'm sure it's part of what has helped him stay so positive through losing mum. His running is what inspired me to be a runner and I hope it's something that I will pass on to my boys too. I'm really looking forward to the 11th September, to the atmosphere of the GNR and to raising as much money as we can to say 'Thank You' again to The Christie."
Alex and his sons are aiming to raise over £1,000 through running the Great North Run, to help them visit - www.justgiving.com/fundraising/davidsonsGNR16.
Sinead Kennedy-Peers, fundraising co-ordinator at The Christie, says: “Thank you so much to Alex, John, Iain and Alan for their continued support and for joining us at this year’s run. We wish Alex the best of luck taking on the event for the 30th time!
If you have secured your own place in the Great North Run we would love to have you on team Christie. We will be providing each Christie runner with a welcome pack, fundraising support and a free Christie branded running vest. Your donations will also help The Christie charity to continue to fund a range of project and initiatives enabling us to give our patients the best care and treatment possible.
The Christie charity supports the work of The Christie NHS Foundation Trust through its fundraising activities, and delivers projects, equipment and improvements that are in line with the Trust’s overall plans and strategy. The charity has over 43,000 supporters who raised a record breaking £15.9m in 2015/16.