Why I run the mini marathon for CMRF Crumlin
“My fourth and youngest son, Jasper, is my inspiration and reason for taking part in the Mini Marathon in aid of Crumlin. In 2010, when he was 10 months of age he was diagnosed with a very rare and aggressive form of cancer. It was an Extra Renal Rabdoid Sarcoma, Stage IV. He was given a 17% chance of survival. We were living in the US at the time and so far away from family and friends, albeit wonderfully supportive friends, Stateside.
That June, when the Mini Marathon came around, a fabulous bunch of gorgeous women in my life fundraised and participated in support. They had t-shirts printed with his gorgeous cheeky face and while we couldn’t be there to join them, we all wore the same t-shirts they had sent us, on that day, in the US. It was so emotional for all of us and the effort, love, support and care that went into that day on our behalf resonated so strongly with me.
I promised myself and my son that when we returned home, I’d do it every year. The first time I participated in the Mini Marathon was 2012. We moved home from the US in July 2011. Each year an amazing gang of friends and I hold a coffee morning in St Joseph’s Parish Hall, in Glasthule and every year we are so appreciative and amazed at the generosity and support we get from The Harold School parents, local retailers and the general neighbourhood.
We always hold it specifically for Crumlin Oncology. Childhood cancer is something so inherently wrong, that people do their very best to support. The Mini Marathon is such a wonderful day, regardless of the weather, but sunshine does help!
My coffee morning pals and I get the Dart into town and that’s where we part! There are champion runners amongst us and then there’s me! I don’t do it in a competitive way, or to finish the run under a certain time. I do it for the fun, for the experience and to give back. It’s amazing to see thousands of women every year running for different causes and united by compassion and comradery. We all meet up afterwards for a celebratory drink!
For me, it is a very personal and emotional day. As the years have created distance from Jasper’s illness, it has become less emotionally overwhelming but nonetheless deeply important and personal. I treat it like an homage to him and a time of reflection on all we went through. I play the same experiences through in my mind. I’m still having new thoughts on his illness.
I should add that this is all done under severe running pressure and huffing and puffing! I am not a natural runner, despite my gazelle-like desires, but what keeps me motivated and going is the unrivalled atmosphere and sheer determination of so many women, many with similar thought processes as mine, I’m sure. There are lifetimes of pain, heartbreak and suffering behind the amazingly strong women who turn out to participate in a day so filled with love, fun, support, determination and togetherness.
It’s a day I can run 10K and I’m not sure I’d pull that distance out of the bag on any other day of the year. I tell myself that Jasper never had the choice to take a break from the pain and suffering of all he went through, so for the sake of 10K, neither do I!
The Mini Marathon is a wonderful event to participate in and if you’re looking for a cause to support, I can think of none better than CMRF Crumlin. Very simply put, no one really thinks it will be their child, niece, nephew, brother, sister or grandchild that gets seriously ill but when that visceral fear is realised, it’s hard to think of raising funds for anyone else. The more support CMRF Crumlin has, the closer we all get to fewer children and families suffering.”
Aoife Mannion, Mini Marathon Champion for CMRF Crumlin.