AN INSPIRATIONAL teenager whose father died suddenly two years after her mother passed away from cancer is raising thousands of pounds, determined to protect others from going through what she suffered.
Eve Beecham, aged 18 from Ilmington, decided with her dad Hugh this summer that she was going to run the London Marathon next year in memory of her mum Rachel.
Two years ago her mother lost a long battle with breast cancer that Eve and her sisters grew up watching. She was 45.
The marathon was Eve and her dad’s way of remembering mum, a way to help them get through the pain, and a way to create something positive out of it. It was their joint project, she said.
Then last month, out of the blue, Hugh collapsed on a cycle ride and died just two weeks before her 18th birthday. He was 56.
“Without fail my father was my complete centre of support,” said Eve, who lives in the family home with her sisters and a housekeeper.
“If I ever got back from school and I said I don’t want to run, I’m too tired, he’d say ‘No you’re going out running Eve’. He knew I wanted to do this.”
For her 18th birthday, she asked her dad for running shoes and clothes, but he never got the chance to give them to her.
Now, the motivated young woman – who wants to study veterinary medicine at university - is determined to help others from going through the same.
“I can’t help what happened to me,” she said. “But because I am a strong runner I can help others.”
Eve and her sisters have lost both mum Rachel and dad Hugh in the last two years.
Eve was six when her mother was diagnosed with cancer. Rachel was in remission for six years, but when Eve was 12 doctors rediscovered the tumour.
The Chipping Campden School sixth-former said: “When she was going through all that, all I thought was that I was powerless. I just wanted some power to help.
“I now have the power to give people a gift, to give them more time as a family because I think this is so important.”
Eve’s inspirational response to her situation has seen donations flood in.
Her initial fundraising target of £2,000 has already been smashed and now her recently revised target of £4,000 is in sight.
Raising money for Cancer Research UK she said: “I would love this money to be spent towards giving other families more time. I was given six extra years with my mother. The precious thing was the time.”
The village of Ilmington, where the family have lived for 15 years, has rallied round to suport Eve and her two sisters, 21-year-old Celia and 13-year-old Grace. As well as having a housekeeper, each night a different neighbour comes round with a meal for the girls.
Eve said: “They have being doing this for a month while we find our feet. There is a whole rota of people, it’s really, really kind.”
Hugh was an industrial designer who worked from home, and a member of the village’s walking group called The Ilmington Monday Club.
After he died, the club bought Eve all the running kit she was going to get from her dad for her birthday.
She admitted she “started from scratch” when she began training in July.
Before applying for a place in the London Marathon, the furthest she had run was three miles. Now she’s up to twelve, and running with Stratford Athletic Club once a week.
“It’s really nice to have company,” she said.
The physical act of running itself is also helping her. “I think it’s a good mental thing for me to do,” she said.
Now running in memory of both her parents, she said that despite the hardships of recent years, she was still beside herself with excitement to run the marathon.
“I know they will both be incredibly proud,” she said. “Every stride of my race, I promise to do so with a smile of optimistic kindness on my face.”
To donate visit: www.justgiving.com/EveBeecham
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