Image: Carina and Dennis. Credit: Carina Newman
When Carina Newman tore a muscle in her calf just weeks before she was due to take part in the 2021 London Marathon, she was devastated. She’d planned to run in memory of her dad Dennis and had booked her charity place with the ICR when he was still alive.
“I told him I was going to run for a cure for him. He had always been so sporty and active, and it meant so much to him that I was taking on this challenge.”
But the 2020 marathon was deferred because of the pandemic, and in August 2021 she was told her leg injury needed a six to eight week recovery period, putting her out of the London Marathon on the rearranged date of October 3 2021.
After sharing her bad news on the #TeamICR Facebook group, Carina was touched when fellow runners offered to take her dad’s name over the finishing line – by writing it on their hands and arms.
'Dad was the best dad you could ever imagine'
“Dad would have absolutely loved that,” she said. “I was so touched when I saw the photos of my dad’s name on marathon day.
“It’s such a lovely group to be part of,” she added, “everyone’s so supportive.”
“Dad was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in 2018 and in 2019 we were told by his consultant that it was terminal, and we would have a year with him.
Image: Four ICR runners carry Dennis' name on their hands and arms. Credit (clockwise from top left): Laura-Jane Humphrey, Nadia Venter, Susan Farrow, Patricia Holland
“But it was actually just a month. I was pregnant at the time and I remember him coming home and saying ‘whatever happens, you look after this one’ and I said, ‘no Dad you’ll be there to see him’.
“It’s so frustrating because if Dad had that extra year he would have met Liam, my little boy – but you just never know what’s going to happen.
“My dad was the best dad that you could ever imagine. He never let his treatment get him down, he was a legend and would smile through everything.
“He is still very much a part of our lives. We have a picture of him up in the living room and Liam kisses it every night, says ‘Goodnight Grandad’ and waves at him.”
Running for a cure
Carina is now looking forward to running the London Marathon in 2022.
“The reason why I chose The Institute of Cancer Research,” she says, “is because this horrible disease affects so many people and it is utterly unfair.
“At the moment, when a person gets cancer, it can feel like a death sentence, but I want this to be a distant memory one day, where a person knows that there may be a cure instead.
“The Institute of Cancer Research is doing vital research that will help so many families like my own. Cancer is cruel and doesn't care what it takes away from you. That is why I'm running. For a cure.”
Find out how you can join #Team ICR and help us defeat cancer.