Since starting Running Mums Australia I have had the opportunity to meet some amazing people both in person and in our online community. I am touched by each and every story I hear and humbled and moved by people’s courage and hope and how running helps them get through the worst of life’s trials. When Sue shared her story with me it touched me with such a raw emotion that I couldn’t function well for the rest of the day. I can only imagine the strength and courage that it takes Sue to get up each and every morning, let alone lace up her shoes and go for a run. Sue shares her story to inspire others to keep going, that our families are worth every step we take to a healthy life and that sometimes running is the only thing that will get us through the hard days. Thank you Sue, may your angel watch over you.

My name is Sue Hales and I am a runner. I am also a mother of two beautiful children. Devastatingly, my daughter is no longer of this earth.

In June 2012 life was fantastic for me. Living in Canberra. Married to a wonderful man who fathered my two beautiful, healthy children; a son Oliver (7) and a daughter Clementine (3). I ran my first marathon (4:30) in Perth with my family meeting me at various points on the course, high-fiving me and shouting words of encouragement. Finishing that marathon came second only to giving birth to my children.

One month later we moved to Adelaide for our ‘sea change’. It was to be the next chapter of the best years of our lives. Close to the beach and closer to family. We were all so excited! Finally we’d be in our own home…we could get a dog and a cat! So much to look forward to…the kids were beside themselves.

5 days after our move, I awoke to the awful sounds of Clementine having a seizure. We called the ambulance and spent several days in hospital (where she had another seizure). She had test after test but no-one could work out what was wrong with our beautiful girl. I spent the next 6 weeks keeping a journal of everything she ate, when she went to the toilet, checked her temperature several times a day, slept in her bed with her every night in case of more seizures…very worrying times.

In September 2012, Clementine was diagnosed with a malignant grade 4 PNET brain tumour. She had just turned 4. Our world turned upside down. Surgery happened immediately. The surgeon was very happy with the result. Radiation and chemotherapy began shortly after surgery. Because Clemmy was only 4, she had to have a general anaesthetic every time she had radiation. This was every week day for 6 weeks. Her poor little body was put through hell. We spent most of our time at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital where the staff were amazing. Most nights after Clemmy had gone to sleep, I would ask her nurse to keep a special eye on my girl, and I would run up and down the 6 flight of stairs over and over again. It was the only way I could run and it was the only way I could stay sane.

In May 2013, we were just over half way through chemotherapy, when Clem had a routine MRI. Devastating news…the tumour was regrowing at a rapid rate even with the toxic drugs they were bombarding it with. We stopped treatment immediately and went on a make a wish holiday to Palm Cove, threw Clemmy an early 5th birthday party, and generally spent as much quality time together as was humanly possible.

On August 5th 2013, Clementine became an angel. 

I still run to keep myself sane, but it’s taken me a while to find some kind of mojo. I am currently training to run the Paris marathon in April this year, to raise much needed funds for Cure Brain Cancer. This weekend I’ll be running 24km’s…my longest run in a very long time. During every run I look for signs from my precious girl to keep me going. I know she will be forever with me, but I still ache to hold her.