Marathon runner aims to raise money for hospice
5:30am Friday 10th January 2014 in By Marion Sauvebois
THE first anniversary of his partner’s death to ovarian cancer barely behind him, Warren Johnson will take to the streets of Bath to raise awareness of the fast-spreading disease and collect vital funds for the hospice which brought her comfort in her last moments.
The 42-year-old, of Wilchelstowe, will take part in the Bath Half Marathon on March 2 in memory of his lost love Sophie Vessey, who passed away on Christmas Day 2012, and in aid of the charity which cared for her, Prospect Hospice.
The Network Rail worker was told just three weeks before her death, at the age of 41, that she was unlikely to live to the New Year.
In her final days, Sophie strongly believed that if she could raise awareness of ovarian cancer and help save the life of just one person her ordeal would have been worthwhile.
Her partner of four years never forgot those words and has pursed this fight in Sophie’s name by taking part in a variety of charity events, never failing to tell their harrowing journey.
“It happened very fast,” said Warren, who works for Network Rail. “She didn’t know anything about the cancer. When she did it was too late. She spent her last few weeks in the hospice and she did say that she wanted us to raise awareness of her cancer.”
“The anniversary of her death has come up and I decided to run in Bath. “One person in three knows someone who suffers from cancer and places like Prospect will be used more and more.
“Prospect made her last three weeks as happy as they could be. She was a lot happier there than she would have been in hospital or at home.”
Shortly before her death, Warren proposed and the couple had their relationship blessed at a small ceremony surrounded by friends and family at the hospice.
Last year, Warren took part in the Prospect 10k as well as the Cardiff Half Marathon, and along with friends, has received £8,200 in sponsorship for his efforts. Running, he said, and his charity work has helped him cope with his loss and given him a new purpose.
“When we first started, we wanted to raise £7,000 to cover the cost of Sophie’s care at Prospect,” he added. “That was the target but now we are trying to raise as much money for Prospect as we can. Running gives me something to focus on and put my energy into rather than worrying about what could have been.
“Hopefully by raising awareness we have helped some people.”
Although normally joined by a band of companions at each race, he will be going it alone in Bath in March.
Warren is also hoping to take part in the London Marathon for Prospect later this year.
To sponsor Warren visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/TeamSophie.