Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Running for Rob

What, I wonder, is the defining characteristic of the British?

Just as the British have generalisations about other nations, I am sure that other nations generalise about the UK. I arrived in this country with my family in 1994, "on my way to America" and we are still here 16 years later. One of the things that has kept us here has been the extraordinary generosity of spirit of British people. This is at its best when you consider the extent to which people voluntarily support others who are less fortunate: visiting the infirm, shopping for the elderly, collecting for charity, running parish councils, tending to graves and thousands of other small ways of making this a better place to live. Perhaps it comes down to Thriving in Adversity.

On Sunday I saw a good example of this. There was a 10km (6.25 miles in old currency) Fun Run in Newbury and of the several hundred runners, about 50 were Running for Rob. So who is Rob? I don't know him (other than knowing he is a teenager with cancer) but I have a friend who does, so I will quote her words here

Rob is simply the loveliest 17 year old lad - through all of what he has gone through, he never complains and just gets on with all of this treatment. He was at the race and we had a lovely hug when I made just over the hour :-) ... because he knew I wasn't a runner and I would never have attempted a 10k without there being a very good reason to.

He is still studying for his 'A' Levels, plans to take them shortly, goes into school whenever possible, plans on studying Politics and plans to do the Edinburgh Festival again this year as he loves acting and directing and is planning on going on holiday to Greece with his pals and, of course, the pop festivals around such as Reading. I truly believe he is an inspiration to both young and old ... I absolutely adore him and feel we can learn so much from someone so young and I just want him to be back to full fitness again.

I feel he found the pomp and ceremony around the run quite embarrassing - his father wanted to do something positive and, as he is a runner, belongs to Newbury Athletic Club who organise the Bayer 10k, he felt having a team do the run would be that positive. That said, we all raised a lot of money for charity and, back at the BBQ in the garden, I sat with Tracey from Teenage Cancer Trust. They provide facilities and an environment for teenagers who have Cancer as the NHS provide only for children or adults ... and teenagers are caught in the middle. They do truly amazing work and we don't realise it. Rob has one more chemo treatment, scheduled for next week - I think it is Cycle 9. Because I look to the positive, I believe the outcome will be a positive and the tumour has, so far, become smaller and with Rob's stoic, mature and brave attitude, I know he will be clear when they do the final tests. He is just the best (and I only get my running kit on for the best :-)

To support Rob fifty people - many of whom hadn't run 10km in their life before - went through a great deal of pain and raised over £12,000 for two charities: Clic Sargent, which cares for young people with cancer and their families and the Teenage Cancer Trust.

(Click on the photo to see all the runners.)

For those who today are still feeling pain, remember you are part of a great tradition: serving the less fortunate in a typical, understated British way.

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