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Rob Alderson

2018 Virgin Money London Marathon

Total raised so far £0.00

Target £0.00

Total plus Gift Aid: £0.00

Raised offline: £0.00

My story

[p]It’s hard to see someone floored by seven words. In October 2002, the day my dad died in a Birmingham hospital, that someone was his oncologist.[/p][p]My dad was always a gentle man. His tone was lucid, reasonable, brave in its refusal to give his vicious, unrelenting cancer the satisfaction of sounding broken.[/p][p]“We’ve run out of options haven’t we?”[/p][p]I realise now that he was saving the doctor from having to say it himself. The cancer had won.[/p][p]Within hours it would take his life. He must have been terrified. He must have been furious at the unfairness of it all. At just 51, after years of keeping it at bay, he was done. But in that moment, he retained his humanity. He didn’t want his longtime doctor, his friend, to have to break the news. So he did it for him.[/p][p]The irrevocability of loss is overwhelming. Things will never go back to how they were, and in the hours and days that follow, that enormous certainty is too much to contemplate. I think that’s what people mean when they talk about the numbing effect of grief.[/p][p]I was 18 when he died, a few days into my first term at university. I can still remember the phone call summoning me home, the strange sensation of not knowing who to tell because I didn’t really know anyone. In the interests of telling someone, I emailed the captain of the football team to explain I was going to miss the next game.[/p][p]Then the train, the taxi, the room, the hushed tones and swollen eyes of my family. But it was only when my dad said what he did, and the doctor seemed to buckle, that I realised we’d reached the end.[/p][p]It just seemed so baffling. He had been ill for many years; there were operations and painful recovery periods, scars and weight loss and weird little milkshake things we kept in a mini fridge that were meant to help him regain his strength.[/p][p]There was his odd presence in the house when I got home from school; a man who used to work the long hours of a busy solicitor now sat in the same chair watching TV. Together we’d watch [i]Ready Steady Cook[/i] and wonder if anyone had looked into whether Green Pepper or Red Tomato?—?the picture-based audience voting system that decided each episode’s winner?—?had a pre-determined chance of success.[/p][p]Things seemed to stabilise. After dropping me off at university, my parents had flown to Cyprus where his youngest sister lived with her family. And then?—?like the screenwriters had discovered their series was being cancelled and they had to wrap the story up quickly— things collapsed. Dad was flown home by air ambulance, taken back to Birmingham and that’s where we gathered.[/p][p]Part of me will never leave that pale blue room. It appears in my dreams much more frequently than my dad does, which seems unfair.[/p][p]In just two years, it will be 18 years since he died, the same length of time I knew him. That is inconceivable. That he never knew me as a man, that he never met my wife, that we never got to discuss my new life in Amsterdam, or lament that the Villa finally got relegated.[/p][p]But running the marathon will bring me closer to him. He ran it himself in the 1990s; there was a picture of him crossing the finish line above my parents’ bed. I will think of him when I cross that line too (but Dad, I’ve got to say, I think I ‘m going to be quicker).[/p][p]And running for [url=http://getahead.org.uk/]Get A-head[/url] feels right too. Mr Watkinson, its founder, did the first (successful) operation on my Dad and they were very supportive throughout his treatment.[/p][p]For my dad, the options ran out. But there are organisations like Get A-head who don’t think that’s good enough. It does an incredible job raising funds for equipment, research and education into head and neck cancers, and I’m proud to support its work.[/p]

Share Rob's story


2018 Virgin Money London Marathon

2018 Virgin Money London Marathon

22 Apr 2018


The Get A Head Charitable Trust

The Get A Head Charitable Trust




Well done, Rob. A great effort for a great cause.

£30.00 plus £7.50 Gift Aid



Congratulations Rob, an amazing achievement and so much money raised, nice one!



Rob - I am so proud of you as I know Dad would be too. You trained so hard and ran a great time in such difficult conditions. A real achievement and a fantastic amount of money for the charity - my hero!

£2000.00 plus £500.00 Gift Aid


John Hollier

Well done Rob on completing marathon your dad would be very proud of your time

£50.00 plus £12.50 Gift Aid



You're a hero x

£30.00 plus £7.50 Gift Aid


Rumour Has It




Well done Robbie, very proud of you !! (auntie) Lizzie xx

£35.00 plus £8.75 Gift Aid


Andy Stone

Go get 'em tiger

£20.00 plus £5.00 Gift Aid


Tom and Aurelia

Go, go, Robotoma!!

£50.00 plus £12.50 Gift Aid



Great work Rob, good luck.

£30.00 plus £7.50 Gift Aid