Danielle, an emergency care support worker for the South East Coast Ambulance Service, was with mother, Laura Furness, the day George was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma – the most common childhood brain tumour – in December 2017.
“George had headaches on and off and then started having coordination and appetite issues. One morning he collapsed and vomited; Laura took him to the hospital. That day my best friend and beautiful mum of George and James had the worst news any mother could possibly imagine. A growth was discovered in his brain and was later removed after an agonising 10-hour operation.
“A gruelling year later with significant weight loss, feeding problems, infection after infection, George has completed his radiotherapy and chemotherapy with a big smile,” she says.
Danielle explains her motivation for running the London Marathon in support of leading national children’s charity Children with Cancer UK:
Working in healthcare, my job is all about helping people and when George was diagnosed I felt completely helpless – so I decided to run the marathon and raise money for Children with Cancer UK.
The charity’s focus on funding research into less aggressive treatments for childhood cancer is so important. George was really ill throughout his treatment, which was horrible to see. Although childhood cancer is different to cancer in adults, many treatments are still based on adult ones and can have devastating side effects for children.
Mum Laura Furness, a sergeant in the British Army, comments:
“Danielle running the London Marathon means so much to me and my family; it means that other children like George get the support and treatment they need to beat cancer. After the hardest year of my life, it is nice to have something positive, raising awareness and much-needed funds for other sick children.
“I am so proud of Danielle for her commitment and determination, for the way she has thrown herself into her training to ensure she completes the challenge she has set herself and to support such an amazing and important charity, Children with Cancer UK,” says Laura.
George has since completed his treatment and rung the end of treatment bell on 30 January this year.
The Furness family are based in St Clears, Carmarthenshire, Wales.