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Emily, whose daughter Neve has brain cancer comes to the hospice for short supportive stays, ran the Oxford Half Marathon in 2021 and raised over £7,800 for Helen & Douglas House. Here, she talks about her experience of running the Oxford Half Marathon for the first time.

‘Running the Oxford Half last year for Helen & Douglas House was an incredible honour for me. I had never done anything like this at all but watching Helen & Douglas House care for my daughter over the past year, it felt like the least that I could do.

‘I also knew that having a challenge like this, which I had declared publicly, would ensure that I got out running regularly and that this would be of huge benefit to me personally, for my mental health and ability to sustain caring for my daughter, who is dying from a brain tumour.

‘Having a large group of friends join me, on Neve’s Team, to train together (mostly we trained alone but cheered each other on via WhatsApp) and fundraise in Neve’s honour was heart-warming.

Neve’s Cheer Zone – Neve cheering her mum on

‘What I could not have anticipated was the incredible feeling of running through the streets of Oxford, on the day and the rush of adrenalin that came from seeing so many of my friends and family out there, supporting us.

‘Seeing other Helen & Douglas House runners, some familiar and others strangers, but all in their orange tops, made me quite emotional. Neve was there on the day too and this meant the world to me, running in her name, fundraising and supporting the charity that really has become her second family and second home.

‘Finally, once we crossed the finish line, being welcomed in to a special reception at Exeter college, put on by Helen & Douglas House, was the perfect way to end the day. The support from Helen & Douglas House, in the run up to the race and on the day, meant that I knew how precious and appreciated our fundraising was and what a difference it really was making, to children like Neve and families like ours.

Emily at Exeter College Emily at Exeter College post-race

‘I had no idea I could do something like a half-marathon but it turned out to be one of the most positive days I can remember in a long time, in so many ways, physically and emotionally.


Feel inspired by Emily’s story? Registration is now open to take part in this years Oxford Half Marathon on the 16th October!

Run the Oxford Half Marathon as part of #TeamHDH

Run with #TeamHDH amongst the beautiful architecture of Oxford in aid of local terminally ill children.