Dad to take on Great North Run in memory of Sunderland-supporting sister

Katie Roddy.
Katie Roddy.

A dad from Wearside is set to take on this year’s Great North Run in memory of his younger sister who tragically died just weeks ago.

Paul Roddy, from Washington, has been left devastated after he lost his sister Katie at the age of 31 in July.

Paul Roddy, who is running the Great North Run in memory of his sister Katie.

Paul Roddy, who is running the Great North Run in memory of his sister Katie.

Katie was born with spina bifida and had gone through 100 operations in her short life including countless procedures on her legs, kidneys, spine, brain.

Despite her ordeal, Katie took her condition in her stride and always had a positive outlook towards life.

Tragically, earlier this year she was told she had an untreatable tumour on her pulmonary artery.

She was left bed-bound due to her condition but maintained her positivity while she spent time in St Benedict’s Hospice in Sunderland.

Paul and his family say that the hospice granted them precious time with Katie that they would not have received if she was not under their care and wanted to do something to support them following her passing.

Paul longed to take up running again following surgery to recover from an accident in May, but the desire to raise funds for St Benedict’s Hospice was the motivation he needed to start training again.

He has already surpassed his £300 target ahead of this year’s run.

Paul, 36, said: “Dealing with Katie’s passing has been incredibly tough.

“I don’t think anyone expects to go to a 31-year-old’s funeral.

“The service was just what she would have wanted, she had asked for everyone to dress up in colour and they couldn’t get the doors closed at because of all of the people.

“Katie would have chuckled at all the attention.

“We knew how poorly she was but, nonetheless, her death was still such a big thing, it made me realise what a huge personality was now gone from our lives.

“Katie only passed away in August this year, she was born with spina bifida and had gone through over 100 operations.

“As always she treated this news with a shrug and a smile and carried on doing what she did best: making people laugh and caring for those around her.

“She was always so grateful to the Freeman hospital in Newcastle, the RVI and Sunderland Royal Hospital staff for their support and was so thankful of the care she received at St Benedict’s Hospice too.

“Thanks to the hospice she was able to spend her last weeks in comfort with her wife, Laura and her friends and family by her side and we wanted to do something to repay them.”

Paul will join 57,000 others for the Simplyhealth Great North Run on September 10 and he says that Katie supported him in her final months with his fundraising and also gave him a playlist to keep him going during his training.

Paul, who works as a secondary school teacher, said: “After I had my accident I was left in a lot of pain and unable to run.

“Running had been a big part of my life for a number of years so I was pretty devastated.

“I’d given up on running again but the day after my surgery, Katie was moved into St Benedict’s and then soon after that I heard they had charity places for this year’s run.

“That gave me the boost I needed to get back into it.”

To donate to Paul’s fund-raising go to www.justgiving.com/Paul-Roddy4?utm_id=26.