Steve would have been so proud of me, says widow who completed Bristol 10k
Published on: 28 May 2016
A DOWNEND mum whose husband died of bowel cancer has taken on the Great Bristol 10K to raise money for the hospice that looked after him in his final days.
Emma Wood, 39, was inspired to start running in January after husband Stephen tragically died last November after being diagnosed with terminal cancer only six months earlier.
Since his death, Emma has been fundraising for St Peter's Hospice as a thank you for the incredible support given to herself and her family.
She has already taken on a 35km bike ride, head shave, raffle and auction but the fundraising total has been boosted to an amazing £18,123 following her recent challenge - tackling the Great Bristol 10K.
The 6.2-mile run through Bristol, which took place on May 15, was Emma's first 10km running event, with Emma using her running as a therapy after a traumatic year.
Running beside her were her two sisters Lucy Hawkins and Harriet Griffin, also from Downend.
Emma, whose children Freddie, nine, and Arthur, five, were among the friends and family cheering her on on the day, said: "I had lots of support from my friends and family and my two sisters ran with me which helped.
"I started running in January and this was my first 10k. I found it hard but really rewarding at the end."
It was an emotional moment when Emma crossed the finishing line with a time of 1hr 10mins.
"I felt really great that I'd done it and with what I'd achieved for St Peter's Hospice and I'm sure Steve would have been really proud of me."
The Woods' world was torn apart when Stephen, an estate agent, was diagnosed with bowel cancer in April, which had already spread to four other parts of his body.
He was looked after by St Peter's Hospice, who have also provided support for the rest of the family in the wake of his death – and Emma, a residential care worker in a children's home, wishes to repay the goodwill shown from the hospice.
“It has been an incredibly emotionally traumatic time,” said Emma.
“Steve stopped work at the end of March because he couldn't work as his back was so bad, and I stopped in April to care for him at home.
“He was in a wheelchair in August and we had a hospital bed in the lounge downstairs, so he tried to carry on as much as normal with the boys. Steve was completely wheelchair-bound.
“St Peter's supported us amazingly. They were the main family support throughout the emotionally traumatic year.
“The boys had music therapy when we found out Steve wasn't going to get better and we spoke to somebody there and that's continued since Steve died. They are there for us now and we want to thank them for that.”
Emma and Stephen were determined to make the most of their final weeks together and married in September, through the help of charity The Wedding Wishing Well, who helped organise the couple's happy day.
Emma still struggles to come to terms with Stephen's death, but is comforted by the fact that Freddie and Arthur are dealing with the trauma admirably.
“It is still very raw,” said Emma.
“On the whole, the kids only being five and nine, they're resilient. But they're very sad.
“When Freddie turned nine he was upset that his dad couldn't be there for his football party. Recently, Freddie has started training with the Bristol City academy which his dad would have been so proud of, being a Bristol City fan.
"I want to continue to raise money for St Peter's Hospice in memory of Steve."
To donate to St Peter's Hospice in memory of Stephen Wood, you can visit Emma's tribute fund at http://www.stpetershospice.org.uk/donate/tributes/