A mum who took up running as a form of escape following the tragic death of her youngest child will take on the London Marathon later this month.
Helen Cruickshanks began pounding the pavement as a coping mechanism after baby daughter Macy’s life was cruelly cut short by a heart condition when she was aged just six weeks and one day old.
Since that day in November 2012 Helen and husband Paul have been fundraising in Macy’s name and have so far raised an impressive £35,000.
Helen, of Leverstock Green, said: “When we sat at Macy’s bedside and Paul said to me we are going to have to do some fundraising I never thought we would get past £1,000 and we got £10,000 in the six months after she had died.”
Last year 40 year old Helen, along with faithful running buddy and good friend Tanya Dalton, also of Leverstock Green, completed the Paris Marathon.
Helen said: “I had never done any running before but I found it really therapeutic.
“I went from couch potato to a marathon runner in a year.
“If I’m having a bad day I can literally get my trainers on and run. I don’t have to think about anybody or anything.
“Really, the running has pulled me through the last few years. Running has been my saviour.”
On April 26, Helen and Tanya, who is credited with ensuring Helen got on her running shoes even on her darkest days, will be raising money for the Cardiomyopathy Association - the charity that helps those affected by the heart muscle disease.
Macy’s deadly heart defect meant she had to undergo open heart surgery as expert medics at Chelsea’s Royal Bromptom Hospital battled to save her life but she lost her fight just before Christmas.
As well as raising money, her story has now saved the life of another little one whose mother’s recognised the signs of cardiomyopathy after reading Helen’s online Facebook diary.
“Things like that are absolutely incredible,” said Helen.
“I want to keep her name alive and I want other people to say Macy’s name and remember her. For people to know her story is just as important as raising the money itself.”
Helen will be cheered along the marathon route by Paul and their two other children Libby, aged nine, and Sam, aged six.
To sponsor Helen and Tanya visit www.justgiving.com/goteammacy1