THE AUNTIE of a young teenager who tragically lost her life to cancer is running her first ever marathon event in her memory, while also raising £3,000 for a worthy cause in the process.
Fifteen-year-old Maddy Cruxton was your average smiley and quirky teenager but she endured years of hospital visits for scans, tests and treatment before passing away in December 2015.
Her death has left a gaping hole in the lives of friends and family, non more so than her auntie Amanda Cruxton-Chance.
“Our lives changed on the day we were told Maddy’s cancer was terminal,” Amanda told the Observer. “Nobody her age should have to go through the things she’s been through.”
With just months to live and with the help of her family, friends and people in the know, young Maddy went on to complete all ten ticks on her ambitious ‘bucket list’.
They included being invited onto the set of her favourite drama, meeting a whole host of celebrities and a much-needed two-week family break to Cornwall.
“The ‘bucket list’ made her dreams come true,” Amanda continued. “We rammed every ounce of experiences into those six months.
“She went along to the filming of Downton Abbey for the day where they took her backstage. Jessie J was amazing when she responded to a social media shout out.
“She was brilliant with Maddy backstage and sat with us for an hour.
“Maddy was meant to see her favourite band Union J at an outdoor music festival in Birmingham but she took a turn for the worst. They secretly came round the house which was a brilliant surprise.
“She also met Emma Watson, she was a big Harry Potter fan and JK Rowling sent her a beautiful gift too.”
Maddy had a vision while she was alive, to help other chronically ill children who needed long term hospital treatment.
Her family decided to set up the charity CLEVaH (Creating Learning Experiences Available at Hospital), which aims to help young people like Maddy, by supporting play specialists and ward teachers to deliver exciting and creative experiences for children in hospital.
With that in mind, Amanda decided to put herself through the pain barrier by putting her name down for the ultimate test – to run the Edinburgh Marathon, with all proceeds going to CLEVaH.
“It’s all about Maddy’s legacy. This was her dream, her vision to help others. She wanted to make their dark days brighter.
“She was such a giving girl. She couldn’t donate any of her organs. The only thing of any use was her cornier, which gave the power of sight to someone.
“Because she spent so much time in hospital she wanted to make other children’s lives better.”
Running a full marathon will be a first for Amanda. She has completed several half marathons, including Warwick, and is well aware of the huge task ahead.
But throughout the race she will have one person in mind.
Amanda added: “This has been a two year journey from complete non-runner to two stone lighter now being able to run a half marathon.
“I wasn’t a runner two years ago but I started to get some head face. It was horrible but I found by running I could switch off. Now I have gone full circle and every time I run I’ve got a picture of Maddy in my head.
“The past few months have pushed me mentally and physically, but I have one huge motivator. It’s hard but I’m only doing it because I promised Maddy I’d complete it.
“People have said I’m barmy to run a marathon but I’ve got two really good friends doing it with me and I couldn’t do it without them.
“I’m determined to cross that finish line for Maddy, even if I have to crawl.”