A MUM left devastated by the death of her husband has told how he has inspired her to do the Sunderland City 10k.
Tracy Daly turned to exercise to help her cope with the grief of losing her 40-year-old partner Simon.
He died just 11 weeks after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, leaving Tracy to bring up their daughter Rosie, four, her son Danny, 13, and Simon’s son Thomas, 11, on her own.
Simon, who worked for design firm Rufus, complained of a bad back for a year before being given the bombshell news that cancer had spread from his kidneys into his spine.
Tracy, 35, of Hylton Castle, said: “Losing Simon was terrible and it was such a shock from thinking he had a bad back to being told he was terminally ill with cancer.
“It’s been very hard on all of us and there have been many times when the only thing that got me out of bed in the morning was my children.
“The first year after Simon’s death was just a blur.
“I’m not sure how we got through it, but friends and family were so important and supported us all the way. I then got to the point where I realised that I needed to try to start to move on with my life or would otherwise just crawl away and hide in a cupboard and never come out.”
Tracy joined a fitness class rather than use anti-depressants to cope with her grief after Simon’s death in November 2009.
She says that the effect of taking part in regular exercise again was “amazing”.
She said: “The first thing was that nobody knew me, which was great as I wasn’t greeted as ‘the widow’ but just as any other person.
“That allowed me to find myself again and I really threw myself into it.
“I got mentally and physically stronger as I’d lost so much weight and had been very low after Simon’s passing.
“I also made some really great friends and was able to start talking to people about what I’d been through on my terms, when I was ready.”
A friend then suggested that Tracy sign up for this year’s run, which she has decided to do to raise funds for Cancer Research UK.
“Because Simon was so young and because his busy lifestyle probably masked the seriousness of his illness early on, we didn’t ever think that he could be suffering with cancer and never thought to push his doctors to look at that as a possibility,” said Tracy.
“Getting fit and healthy has given me a huge amount and now I really want to use that to run the Sunderland City 10k and make other people aware of what can happen so that hopefully there will be a family out there who won’t have to go through what we’ve suffered.”
Olympic medallist and founder of the Sunderland City 10k Steve Cram said: “Tracy’s story and that of her family is heartbreaking and it’s really important that people are aware of cancer, how a healthy lifestyle can help to combat it and how supporting Cancer Research UK can make a big difference in fighting this terrible disease.”
Both the Sunderland City 10k and the Marathon of the North will take place on Sunday, May 6.
To book a place for either race, go to www.sunderlandcity10k.com or www.marathonofthenorth.co.uk.