Last week I took pictures of some women who are all going to be running in the Great Scottish Run. The pictures were for a story which appeared in the Sunday Mail. It is an inspirational story so I thought I would share it with you all.
Taken from the Sunday Mail,
WHEN Wonder Woman Wendy Hanson and her princess pals cross the finish line of the Bank of Scotland Great
Scottish Run, she knows she will be crying tears of joy and sadness.
When Wendy usually takes part in a charity race, she runs straight into the arms of her fiance Vincent Hastie, who always waits proudly at the finish line.
But this year Wendy and her team of friends are running the half-marathon to raise funds in memory of Vincent, who died just seven weeks ago.
Former journalist Vincent, 68, from Langside, Glasgow, lost his life after a five-year battle against cancer of the oesophagus.
He spent his last days in the care of dedicated staff at The Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice in Glasgow.
Now, as Wendy prepares for her first race without her biggest supporter, she knows Vincent would be happy to see her running to raise money for the real-life superheroes who work at the hospice.
The 46-year-old said: “Vincent knew we were planning to dress as princesses and run to raise money for the hospice and had been looking forward to supporting us.
“I’ve done a few charity runs in recent years and Vincent has always taken me to the start line and been there at the end.
“He couldn’t run in any of the races but felt he was involved by helping me .
“Vincent had been using the hospice since the beginning of the year and we were both humbled by the amazing work the staff there do.
“I will find it emotional to finish the race without having Vincent to greet me but he will be there in spirit.”
Widower Vincent, who had eight children and was a proud grandfather, first met Wendy eight years ago when she joined the choir of St Joseph’s RC Church, in Clarkston, Glasgow.
She said: “I had been in the choir for about a year-and-a-half when myself and another lady decided to have a party to celebrate my 40th birthday and her 50th.
“While Vincent and I had known each other for a while, we really got chatting at the party. We just hit if off.
“We started dating and, after about a year, we got engaged.”
As the couple made plans for their lives together, the only cloud on the horizon was Vincent’s ill health. They were devastated in 2008 when tests revealed that he had incurable cancer.
Wendy, a manager at Scottish Enterprise, said: “Vincent had been having trouble swallowing so had gone to his doctor and was sent for an X-ray.
“It turned out to be a tumour. It was too near other organs for them to operate and remove it. He was told it wasn’t curable.”
Despite the bleak diagnosis, Vincent never allowed his illness to stop him living life to the full.
Wendy said: “Vincent was the most positive person you could ever meet and never let his illness get the better of him. He never asked his doctors how long they thought he might have and, until the end, he took each day as it came.
“We talked about getting married but we were quite happy as we were. We knew we loved each other, we lived together and we didn’t feel we had to get married.
“Instead, we just enjoyed the time we had together, took lots of nice holidays and had a lot of fun.”
Vincent started needing the help of the palliative care team at The Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice at the start of the year.
While he initially only used their services as an outpatient, he was admitted to the hospice in July. He died two weeks later.
Wendy said: “The care Vincent received was amazing. The intention was that, once his medication was right, he would get home again. But he took a turn for the worse at the beginning of the second week and he died a few days later.”
She is now looking forward to running with her pals Jemma Fletcher (who’ll be dressed as Belle from Beauty and the Beast), Caroline Strain (She-Ra), Vicki Ronaldson (Rapunzel) and Shirley Appelbe (Merida).
Wendy said: “We are doing the 13-mile route and, in many ways, the training has been a really good focus for me as well as having lots of health benefits and stress-relieving benefits at a time like this.
“I’m running as Wonder Woman who I am told was the princess of the planet where she came from, while the rest of the girls are all running as different princesses.
“Half the money we raise will go the hospice’s Brick by Brick appeal and half will go to their bereavement support.
“Vincent will be watching over us – no doubt with a smile on his face.”
Andy Mitchelmore, of Nova International, organisers of the Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run, said: “It’s great to see people getting into the spirit of the run and getting dressed up – they always get the biggest cheer from the crowd.
“We wish Wendy and her princesses the very best of luck.”
Heather Manson, fundraising chief at The Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice, said: “We’re delighted that Wendy and her friends will be joining us for the Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run in memory of Vincent and in support of our Brick by Brick Appeal to build a new home for Glasgow’s hospice.
“Our mascot, Harvey the Heart, and I are also taking part as it’s great fun. Every year, we care for more than 1200 patients and their families and we’re only able to do this with the support of people like Wendy and her friends.”