For Emma Beardsmore from Stone, the 30th Stafford Half Marathon will be a particularly momentous occasion. Not only will it be Emma’s first ever half marathon, but she will be running the 13.1 mile race to funds for Starlight, the national children’s charity that granted her daughter Alice a once-in-a-lifetime wish.
Emma, who is a local GP, first heard about Starlight from the Children’s Oncology Team at University Hospital of North Staffordshire. Emma’s youngest child, Alice, had been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia when she was just two and a half years old. Alice had to undergo a very lengthy course of chemotherapy treatment to fight the disease and the team at University Hospital thought she would benefit from a special Starlight wish, having been such a brave girl throughout her illness.
Alice has always loved dolphins and, during treatment, it was her dream to swim with them. She began swimming late as she was unable to swim for a long time because of her condition. However, she took to it with gusto and, as soon as she was able to, her desire to swim with her favourite animals became even greater!
Starlight arranged for Alice, parents Emma and Duncan, and older brother Gregor, to visit Orlando, Florida in February 2013. Home to Discovery Cove, this was the perfect destination for Alice and her family to swim with dolphins! They had a wonderful time in the water with the dolphins and Alice even got to give one of the dolphins a very wet cuddle! During their stay, the family also got to enjoy some of the many attractions in the area, including Sea World and the Disney parks.
Alice is now a very lively, happy seven year old, who loves gymnastics, swimming and being with her friends. A year after Alice’s wonderful wish, Emma took on the Stafford Half Marathon on Sunday 16th March
Emma said, “Throughout her treatment, Alice remained a very brave and cheerful girl, always wishing to embrace life and live life as best as she was able. After a gruelling 3 year chemotherapy programme, it was wonderful to see her having such fun in Florida and having her wish to swim with dolphins fulfilled. We are very grateful to Starlight for giving her this opportunity and I hope that, by completing the Stafford Half Marathon, I will be able to help this special charity grant the wishes of other very deserving children like Alice.”
You can still sponsor Emma by visiting: www.justgiving.com/Starlightrun