Emilie Debbonaire, from Bristol, is taking part in this year’s London Marathon raising money for CLIC Sargent, the charity that supported her and her family when her son Levi was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. Here, Emilie shares her story.
“My son was diagnosed with osteosarcoma at 12 after he broke his leg in a skateboarding accident at school. He had had a sore knee for a couple of months previously, but because he was such an active boy even the doctor thought it was just a strained ligament.
"It was devastating to find out Levi had cancer, and he would need months of treatment to stand any chance of getting better. The time during his chemotherapy and surgery was awful, but we were supported by wonderful people including our Social Worker from what was then Sargent Cancer Care as well as staff from CLIC and family and friends who gathered around and helped us maintain some kind of normal life.
“Levi’s treatment was successful and it’s now been nearly 14 years since his diagnosis. He lives with the long term effects, his leg is very damaged by the cancer and then a subsequent infection. He still has follow up appointments for his leg and regular check ups of his heart and kidney function after they were damaged by the chemo he had.
Becoming a marathon runner
“I have always wanted to run the London Marathon, when I used to watch years ago it seemed out of reach and not something I could ever do. In 2012 I started running and I signed up for my first ever half marathon in Bristol to run for CLIC Sargent.
"I fell in love with running and I also realised I loved feeling that I could pay something back, and help support families going through similar experiences to ours. I started volunteering for CLIC Sargent, and now I work in the Trading team, which looks after CLIC Sargent's charity shops.
“I ran the first ever Bristol and Bath Marathon last October. I signed up to run it as practice for the London Marathon and wanted to prove to myself I could do the distance before the big day in April. So now I know I can do it.
"Training is going well, I am up to 16 miles this weekend. I find the mid-week training on top of work and family hard to juggle, and haven’t done all of my interval sessions (most likely because I dislike them!) but I feel good at the moment and I am looking forward to the day!
“Fundraising wise, I run a tuck shop in my office, and I will be carrying out bag packs and car boot sales to help me reach my target. I have found talking to other CLIC Sargent runners to get ideas for fundraising really helpful.
“I’m excited to do this, bring it on!”
Volunteer at the London Marathon
If you are interested in coming along to support our amazing runners at the London Marathon on Sunday 24 April 2016, then sign up now to join one of our cheer points. Once you have registered the CLIC Sargent Running team will be in touch with more information.
Find out more
Entries for the London Marathon 2016 are now closed, but if you would like to take part in another upcoming running event for CLIC Sargent, please contact our Running Events team on 0845 602 4770 or email@example.com.