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Mother and son join ranks of Great North Run in memory of late father
A MOTHER whose world was shattered when her husband died suddenly nearly four years ago will realise a dream when she takes part in the Great North Run next weekend.
Emma O’Leary, 35, will complete the run in memory of her husband John O’Leary - while her 11-year-old son Jack Driver, who has joined her in training and inspired her to keep going, will take part in the Junior Great North Run.
Mrs O’Leary of Blackhill, Consett, County Durham, said: “This is a dream come true. My husband and I had always intended to complete the run together but never got chance to.
“Our family’s lives have now come a full circle and we want to raise money for charity that helps other families, while keeping John’s memory alive.
“I wanted to do this for a charity with meaning and substance – that’s why I am running it for the Jo and Mya Memorial Fund – an amazing charity that helps local children affected by bereavement.”
The charity was set up by Ian Richardson, of Billingham, in memory of his wife Joanne and daughter six-year-old daughter Mya, who were killed when his car was hit another car going the wrong way up the A1, near Newcastle, in August 2010.
Mrs O’Leary said her family was devastated when her husband died of pulmonary embolism on a Boxing Day outing with the family in 2009.
She said: “There were no warning signs of anything being wrong. We stopped at garage for fuel and he died in front of the children.
“It was really terribly traumatic – especially for the children who saw it happen.”
She added: “We had a really difficult time, but were fortunate to have support from my family - because his lived in South Wales.”
Sport provided the distraction for Jack, and seven-year-old Kian O’Leary, while nine-year-old Isobel Driver excelled at drama.
Mrs O’Leary said: “This last year we have really turned things round.
“What has made this even more significant is Jack, who has been inspired by my running, and has entered the Junior Great North Run in remembrance of his stepfather."
Jack said: “I feel it is important that we will be raising money for a charity that will help children who have gone through the same pain and grieving that we have.”
Anyone who would like to sponsor Mrs O’Leary and her son can do so on www.justgiving.com/jackandemma or text JKEM47£ followed by the amount and to 70070.
*Are you running the Great North Run for a reason close to your heart? Tell us why in no more than 50 words by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org before Wednesday, September 11, and your story could feature in The Northern Echo. Please include a daytime telephone number with your details.
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