A WOMAN who lost her daughter to an aggressive form of cancer has backed runners taking on the equivalent of two-and-a-half marathons in aid of a children’s hospice.
Rose Hamlett, 36, whose eldest daughter Rebekah died when she was six, is supporting the team at Debenhams at Eagles Meadow shopping centre, Wrexham, who are collecting money for Hope House Children’s Hospices.
Owen Ward, Stephen Jones, Andrew Birch, and Blaine Howard are undertaking a gruelling run from Wrexham to Liverpool and back.
The 68-mile run starts at midnight on Friday and finishes 18 hours later on Saturday.
Mother-of-four Ms Hamlett, who works as a housekeeper at the Ramada Plaza hotel in Wrexham, has nothing but praise for the hospice.
It provided respite care at a time when she was heavily pregnant and had two other children to look after, including Rebekah’s twin sister Lauren. She was a single mum at the time.
She said: “I think the fact they’re doing this run is fantastic. It means a lot that they’re doing this.”
Rebekah had neuroblastoma, a rare cancer affecting childre, mostly under the age of five. Around 90 children in the UK are diagnosed with it each year.
Rebekah was diagnosed when she was four and underwent brain surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
Ms Hamlett said: “The chemotherapy made her ill. In the end I just had to let go because the cancer kept coming back.
“She had a brain tumour and then had secondary tumours across the top of her head and down her spine. She was always out of breath and lost the ability to walk so would shuffle across the floor.
“It was tough – and it was especially hard on Lauren. It was difficult for my son Nathan to understand at the time and he kept asking when are we going to get a new Rebekah.
“She would be 18 now. Rebekah and Lauren had to have name badges when they went to school because they looked so similar. Their personalities were completely different though.
“Rebekah was just so girly and Lauren was more tomboyish.
“I always think of Rebekah when Lauren has her birthday. It’s nice, in a way, but in another way it’s cruel.”
Ms Hamlett added: “The staff and volunteers at Hope House were fantastic. Once they brought in kittens for Rebekah to play with – which she really enjoyed. They would look after her. They don’t just give you practical support, they give you emotional support as well.
“I want people to know that there is help out there for them if they need it and I want to make sure that other people can get the same support that I got.”
Owen Ward, a supervisor on cosmetics at Debenhams at Eagles Meadow, a friend of Rose’s partner, also called Owen, said: “We’re doing the run in the name of Rose’s daughter. Hope House is a great cause.”
Hope House needs to raise £4m a year to maintain their vital services for children with life-limiting conditions.
Hospice fundraiser Rachel Jones said: “We care for over 260 life-limited children and their families and over 300 bereaved families from all across North and Mid Wales, Cheshire and Shropshire.
“Our bereavement services are open to any family in the community who have lost a child in any circumstance such as a road traffic accident, fire, cot death or other situation.
“We also provide support for children who have suffered a traumatic loss of a loved one.
“We need to raise £4m just to cover our running costs.”