A mum of four from Cambridgeshire will be running in the London marathon to support people like her husband, who’s living with an inoperable brain tumour.
Hayley Lawrence, 49, took up running less than four years ago and is now preparing to run the Virgin Money London Marathon to raise money for brain tumour research.
Hayley’s husband Phil, was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2007, just weeks after waking in the night to a “massive seizure”.
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The news shocked the couple and now Hayley is taking strides to do what she can to help people like her husband.
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The mother of four, from Huntingdon, will also be running in memory of her daughter’s friend, Amelia Sellens, who passed away at the age of 13 from a tumour.
Phil’s diagnostic came after their GP told them they’d found two lesions on his brain which Hayley described as “horrific”.
During this time the couples fourth child was just nine months old.
Not until after two biopsies, a craniotomy and multiple scans taken months apart and a “torturous” two-week wait for results did the family find out that Phil’s grade 1 ganglioglioma had not grown.
Jump to 15 years later and the tumour remains stable.
However, Hayley’s daughter’s friend was not so lucky with her life cut short by a brain tumour less than three years ago, at the age of 13.
Amelia’s tumour was the same type as Phil’s but, unlike his, which is located on the temporal lobe, hers was on the brainstem.
Step-by-step Hayley will be remembering Amelia during the marathon who she called an “incredible girl” who was “always smiling”.
Hayley said: “Even on chemo days she’d want to come back into school for the last half hour.
“She went through a lot because she’d get chest infections and was in intensive care and they thought she wouldn’t pull through but she did until she got seriously ill when she was 13 and did, unfortunately, pass away.
“She’s been my inspiration to run the marathon, because of the determination she put into everything.
“She was an amazing girl and nothing stopped her. Even when she couldn’t walk after six or seven weeks in intensive care and was in a wheelchair, she was so determined that she did it. Even if I have to crawl over that finish line, I will be crossing it.”
Hayley’s training has been tumultuous as she’s been met with setbacks from injury and grief after the loss of her mother-in-law.
Her journey hasn’t been easy but she is excited to finally be able to run the world-famous 26.2-mile race for Brain Tumour Research on Sunday (October 3).
She said: “I’m excited and nervous.
“I keep swapping between ‘absolutely I’ve got this, I’ve done the training’, to ‘my goodness, what am I doing, this isn’t possible, but every time I think ‘I can’t do this I remind myself why I’m doing it – I remind myself of Amelia and how she’d say ‘yes, I can do it,’ so I will.
Charlie Allsebrook, community development manager for Brain Tumour Research, said: “We’re so grateful to Hayley for taking on this huge challenge to help fund vital research into brain tumours.
“Amelia’s story reminds us that brain tumours are indiscriminate and can affect anyone at any age. We wish Phil all the best for the future and look forward to cheering Hayley on as she crosses the finish line.”
To support Hayley’s fundraising you can do so by clicking here.
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