This is why I am running

Written by Kelly Chandler

As a working parent you have a daily battle of ‘mammy guilt’ for leaving your little one, then deciding who will look after your children throws you into so many other emotions, thoughts, and fears.

Please tell me I am not alone on this.

When my daughter Mollie was just a toddler, I needed to find a childminder.  Now don’t get me wrong I don’t have her totally wrapped in bubble wrap, but after 13 years of trying for her, I was only going to leave her with someone special.

As soon as I met Tracey and her family my worries melted away.  Not only did Tracey care for Mollie while I was at work, but she also welcomed us all into her family.

Over the years they became our family too, when Mollie had tantrums and oh my goodness, she could tantrum like a diva, I would just have to say should I call ‘Pacey (Tracey)’, and she would calm.

Ethan was Tracey and Mark’s youngest child and Mollie loved spending time with him.

In December 2020, while most of us were dealing with COVID, the word no one, let alone a parent, wants to hear came crashing into everyone’s lives.


I can honestly say that when I heard the news, my heart broke.

It all started in October as toothache, but quickly changed by December, when Tracey and Mark were told Ethan had Rhabdomyosarcoma, a large tumor was present in his face pushing through onto his brain.

In addition, a large tumor was found attached to his spine and was also visible in his lungs and bone marrow. Ethan started his treatment immediately but faced a long road ahead with both chemotherapy and then radiotherapy in the fight to beat this horrible disease.

Over the next few months there were lots of messages going back and forth.  Tracey would send pictures of Ethan giving the thumbs up with his gorgeous smile.  His courage and strength blew away everyone who knew him, for example he would skip out of his treatments telling the nurses ‘See you in two weeks’.  As for the rest of the family they are just incredible, to this day I have no idea how they did not break apart.

Only a week after the treatment finished Ethan became very sick and tired.  His eyesight started to diminish which led to the news that no parent should hear.

No more could be done.

The disbelief was gut-wrenching and overwhelming, this could not be happening, why them, why Ethan.

On the 5th August 2021, just one week after his 9th birthday Ethan passed away.

He is missed every day by everyone who ever met and loved him.

You may be reading this blog wondering why I have written this, I just wanted to explain how I am using my grief, anger and heartache to hopefully make a positive difference.

On the 11th September 2022, Adrian, Joanne, and I will be running this years’ Great North Run in memory of Ethan.  We are running for Children’s Cancer North, an amazing charity that supported Tracey, Mark, Ethan, Evan, Ellie and their whole family through a horrific experience.

This is my way of saying thank you to them along with trying to make a difference.

If the above has touched you please support us by contributing on our Just Giving page, see the link below.

Thank you.

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