Hartlepool teacher’s Race for Life as mum faces chemotherapy

Claire McMurdo with her mum Brenda Cook
Claire McMurdo with her mum Brenda Cook

A LOVING daughter will have an extra incentive to do well in the Race for Life this weekend when she lines up for the fundraiser just days after her mum started gruelling chemotherapy treatment.

Claire McMurdo joined hundreds of other women in the 5k run along Seaton Carew seafront last year to do her bit to help in the fight against cancer.

But this year the run has turned out to be even more significant for Claire as her mum Brenda Cook, 67, has recently been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

Claire, 33, will be joined on the start line on Sunday by her son Ben, seven, as he also wants to do his bit to help make his nanna better.

The mum-of-two, a teacher at St Bega’s Primary School, on Hartlepool’s Headland, said: “Last year I just wanted to do my bit by taking part in the run. There was no other reason for doing it, and I think I raised about £40.

“This year, with the news we’ve had about my mum, means I have a special reason for doing it. The fight against cancer has suddenly become a bit closer to home for me.”

Brenda, who lives in the Clavering area with husband Rob, a Hartlepool councillor, underwent tests after feeling poorly and was informed at the end of May that she had cancer.

Her course of chemotherapy started last Friday, and Claire cannot hide her admiration for the way her mum is dealing with her illness.

Claire, married to Mick and also mum to two-year-old Scarlett, added: “I can’t tell you how proud I am of the way she has coped with this since she was diagnosed.

“She has been so brave, and I’m so proud of her. We all are. She’s hasn’t asked ‘why me?’ Her attitude is more along the lines of ‘why not me?’.

“She won’t let it beat her.

“Ben is only seven so he just thinks his nanna is poorly, and he knows she’s going to lose her hair. But he said he wants to help people get better so he’s doing it alongside me.”

Claire has been a regular visitor to the gym to prepare for the run, and is looking forward to seeing Brenda and the rest of her family cheering her on along the way.

“My mum was overwhelmed when I said Ben and I were doing the run, but we’ve been out pounding the streets this week to get fit and we’re looking forward to it.

“I’m quite happy with the sponsorship money I’ve raised so far. We’ve got family in Perth, Australia and they’ve all said they’ll support me, and I know when we’re cross the finish line we’ll have done it for an extra special reason.”

l To help Claire and Ben boost their fundraising, visit www.justgiving.com/clairemcmurdo