Emma's Butterflies

Emma's Butterflies

Emma and her amazing team of Butterflies 

When I first started dating Emma in early 2010, running was a major part of her life. Having turned 30 the year before, Emma had persuaded her best friend that they should run a marathon. Over the forthcoming weeks, Emma then earned a reputation of being a very keen but somewhat clumsy runner.  A broken arm incurred when training meant the 2010 Brighton Marathon was now nothing but a dream. Typically, Emma would spend the day supporting her friends running in the event.

Undeterred by this, entries were put in for the 2011 Marathons at Brighton and London. Constant training throughout the early winter kept the dream on course but all of a sudden it was brought to a halt.  Instead of running 5-10 miles three or four times a week, Emma found herself literally unable to walk up a hill no more than 100 yards long. The diagnosis of terminal cancer that followed was shattering.  Now Emma had a different fight on her hands but she was determined to give everything to beat this dreaded disease.

A courageous fight she fought for 3 years, Emma never gave up but in the end her body could take no more, and she died peacefully on the 25th January 2014. The last three and a half weeks of her life were spent in the wonderful care of all the staff at St Michael's Hospice in Basingstoke. Nothing was too much trouble and she was able to spend her last few days there in a very dignified manner. We were able to share so much time together alone, with friends and with family. There would always be someone willing to help if needed.

None of this makes it any easier for those of us left behind. My two boys, aged 9 and 12, absolutely doted on the wonderful lady they called their Princess. So many friends left completely shattered, and me, well I still don't truly believe this has happened. Emma was only 34, we had been engaged for less than a month.

It was this group of wonderful friends that decided to run in Emma's memory to raise funds for the Hospice so that others can benefit from the wonderful care they provide. My boys heard about it when we had a "celebratory" meal for her life the day before her funeral and instantly wanted to take part, and all of a sudden the team of Emma's Butterflies was born.

I don't recall if the team set a financial target. If they did, it was smashed time and time again.  This amazing group of people ran, walked, cheered and smiled their way around either 5K or 10K at Basingstoke.  They were top fundraisers, raising over £3,800. So many people sponsored them, some never knew Emma but understood completely what her friends were raising money for.  Not just Emma's memory, not just the people who provide wonderful care at St Michael's Hospice but also for those who will need the care in the future whilst this hideous disease continues to wreck lives.

In the future, I hope I can return to the Hospice to find some comfort there.  There are certainly enough people there willing to help. However, we must remember that the Hospice relies upon people like Emma's Butterflies raising funds to provide the care that many people need. In the time I knew Emma she was nothing but an inspiration to so many.  Always a beautiful smile irrespective of life's troubles. She inspired her team of Butterflies to go and do this to help others in the future.

 

Stuart Blundell