Heather’s reasons for running

Heather's first 5k for Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) Children’s Charity was RBC Race for the Kids. Now, Heather's a seasoned runner with 10ks and a half-marathon under her belt.

Last year, Heather took part in the London Marathon, raising money for GOSH Children’s Charity in memory of her son, Cayden.

Turning point

Cayden was just 10 weeks old when he passed away. “He had a rare condition called hypoplastic left heart syndrome,” says Heather. “For a year after he died, I was upset and mad at the world. I sat on the sofa, just not doing anything.”

Heather and her husband, Richard, decided to try for another baby. “We didn’t think it would happen so quickly,” says Heather. “Throughout the pregnancy, I was terrified something would go wrong. But GOSH monitored me because Cayden’s condition was so rare – they were brilliant.”

Months later, Oliver was born a healthy, happy baby. When he was a little older, Oliver decided he wanted to take part in RBC Race for the Kids. “It was hard – I walked most of it,” says Heather.

“The turning point was when I saw photos of myself from the race. I couldn’t believe how unhealthy I’d become. I was 5ft and a size 20. I decided I was going to make some big changes for myself and for Oliver and his younger brother, Benjamin.”

Reasons for running

Heather became an ambassador for GOSH Children’s Charity, where she attended events to say thank you to groups and individuals for raising money. “We also decided to set up a Brighter Future Fund, which means that we raise money with friends and family in memory of Cayden, and they can use their Just Giving page for our fund. There are now nearly 50 pages in Cayden's name.”

After catching the running bug at RBC Race for the Kids, Heather joined a running group. “They pushed me hard. Slowly but surely, I built up to a 10km run. Two years ago, I took part in the London Marathon. I trained extremely hard and managed to complete it in six hours and 45 minutes.

“Running gives me time to reflect. I have Cayden’s photo on my running vest, and if I’m struggling, I look down and know he’s there, pushing me on.

“Richard and I also organise fundraising events, coffee mornings, and a music event in 2012 that raised £3,500. We’re hoping to smash the £40,000 mark this year.”

Get involved

If you’ve been inspired by Heather’s story, why not sign up for this year's RBC Race for the Kids, which takes place on 7 October? Visit gosh.org/raceforthekids.

Sign me up

A version of this article was published in At Home magazine in August 2017, interview with Georgina Maric.