Memories of toddler's death inspires mum on fundraising drive
PUBLISHED: 16:52 19 November 2018 | UPDATED: 17:11 19 November 2018
Memories of her three-year-old son who died from cancer almost three decades ago have inspired a Norfolk mother to spearhead a family fundraising effort that will culminate in her running the London Marathon.
Clare Jacobs, 49, is hoping to raise thousands for cancer charity CLIC Sargent when she runs in the capital next April. She is undertaking the race in memory of her young son Adam who lost his battle with cancer on September 21, 1990 just nine months after being diagnosed.
The “cheeky little boy” had started to complain of “tummy aches in his head” and was rushed to hospital having collapsed at home. Having ruled out meningitis, doctors transferred him to Addenbrooke’s hospital where he was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a rare type of cancer that mostly affects babies and young children.
“My world fell apart,” said Clare, who lives in Tibenham. “Over the coming months he endured chemotherapy and a further 35 general anaesthetics and radiotherapy, ending up on ITU when the chemotherapy first started. “Throughout this time we were supported by those around us but also by the Malcom Sargent charity, now CLIC Sargent. The support we received from them stopped us having to worry about the day to day practicalities of life whilst caring for a seriously ill child.”
She added: “It is 28 years since I lost him and the memories of him and all he endured whilst still remaining a happy little chap stay with me, as does the kindness of those at CLIC Sargent. For that reason I have decided that as I will be 50 next year I want not only to challenge myself but thank those who helped me all that time ago and in doing so assist them to carry on their fantastic work.”
In the run up to next year’s marathon Clare and her family, including husband Ian and daughters Joanna Kemp, 29, and Emma Smart, 26, who now works on the paediatric unit at Addenbrooke’s Hospital where Adam was treated, have joined in the fundraising drive. Her son Zac Smart, 24, who is in the Army, will also be running the London Marathon.
They have raised £2,400 so far through events including tombola stalls, sweepstakes and charity sales, with a race night and fish and chip supper planned for Roydon Village Hall on January 26.
Even her eight-year-old granddaughter Hannah has raised £300 by having her hair cut and donated to the Little Princess Trust provides, which provides real hair wigs to those who have lost their own hair due to cancer.
Meanwhile Clare, a self-confessed coach potato, has been training on the roads around South Norfolk. “I have not run any distance since my school days,” she said.
“I didn’t start running until June but I’m up to 12 miles now and you may see me plodding around the streets of Gissing and Burston.”
More details on Clare’s fundraising