Aimee Christian: my story

34-year-old Aimee will be running her first ever marathon in memory of her brother-in-law who passed away almost 19 years ago, aged 28, after battling lymphoma. She explains why she is taking on the London Marathon to raise funds for Leukaemia Care…

I had always been incredibly close to my older sister, Alison, and spent a lot of time with her and Matthew, her boyfriend, often staying over at their house. Alison was more like my best friend and we did everything together, which then extended to Matthew as he became a part of our lives. 

When I was 15-years-old, Matthew was diagnosed with lymphoma – it was a huge shock to us all, with him being so young. My sister had just found out that she was expecting their first baby and as a couple, they always just thought and hoped that he would get better. 

Their daughter, Isabella, was born in October 2004, and Matthew passed away the following June, aged just 28. Fortunately, he was able to come home before he died and my sister and his family could be with him when he passed. This was a great comfort to them both. It was an extremely sad and shocking time for all of us. Alison and Matthew were married and they christened Isabella on the same day – and then just three short weeks later, Matthew’s funeral was held at the very same church. 

It was really difficult when he passed away. At the age of just 22, my sister was a widow. I stayed with her and helped to look after Isabella, who was only eight months old. I remember as she grew older, our family taking her on her very first holiday and she was so excited because she thought she was going to see her Daddy. We had always told her that Matthew had gone to live up in the clouds and she had hoped to see him from the aeroplane.    

Along with our family, I supported my sister throughout her grief. I almost moved in with her after Matthew’s death. Even today, I often think of Isabella as ‘my first born’ because I was around so much, looking after her when she was small. But it was a very traumatic time. I was in the middle of my GCSEs when Matthew passed away. I remember having to go straight from his funeral to one of my exams, still dressed in funeral attire.  

A few years later, I met Nicola at university and we became firm friends, even getting jobs together at the same school as young, newly qualified teachers. When she met Mike and later married him, I got to know him too.  And when he was diagnosed with leukaemia, I was able to support Nicola, both throughout his illness and after his passing, having been through it before with my sister.  Both Mike and Matthew passed away young – and while you never forget a loved one who you have lost, I hope that I was able to give Nicola hope and comfort that she could live with Mike in her heart, in the way that he would have wanted her to.

So, when Nicola suggested that we run the London Marathon for Leukaemia Care, I decided to rise to the challenge. I have never really been a runner, although I have run with Nicola from time to time over the years. But it is something that has always been on my bucket list and I am proud to be completing it for such a worthy cause.  It obviously means a lot to both Nicola and myself, and I am so proud to run alongside her, in Mike’s memory and in Matthew’s.

The London Marathon will definitely be a huge physical challenge for me. So far, training is going well and we are on track to finish in around four and a half hours or so. But to be honest, I will just be happy to cross the finish line!   It’s all very exciting and I know I’m doing it for a great and worthwhile cause, supporting so many others who are going through the same thing as Mike and Matthew’s families and friends did.   

My husband, Dan, and seven-year-old daughter, Sophia, will be cheering me on in London and I know that I have my sister and Isabella’s support too. No doubt, my husband will be Facetiming them from the finish line! 

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