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Daughter runs Cancer Research 10K in memory of Mum

Jacquie and Jess

A 35-YEAR-OLD woman is taking on the Brecon Carreg Cardiff Bay 10K to raise money for Cancer Research Wales in memory of her mum.

Jess Coulthard, from Canton in Cardiff, sadly lost her mum Jacqui in June 2021 after she was diagnosed with leukaemia.

She says she now feels she is in a better place and wants to take on her fundraising challenge on Sunday 19 May to ‘do some good’.

Cancer Research Wales is an independent Welsh charity that is dedicated to reducing the impact of cancer in Wales.

Jess said, “I’ve run both the CDF 10K and Principality Cardiff Half Marathon but have never raised money before. I feel like I’m in a better place now and knew I had to do it for my mum. She’d be really proud of me.”

Jacqui first became ill just before the Covid-19 lockdown in January 2020.

Jess said, “Mum kept getting poorly with coughs and colds. She was bedbound and just seemed to have infection after infection.”

Jacqui was already having regular blood checks for a blood condition when a routine check in February 2020 showed something wasn’t right.

Jess said, “Doctors said it looked like she had a strain of leukaemia, and a bone marrow test confirmed the diagnosis. She was told she had an aggressive form and there was no cure. We were all devastated.”

Tragically, doctors predicted Jacqui would only have a week to a couple of months left to live.

She started having chemotherapy injections to try and prolong what little time she had left.

Jess, who left her job as a teaching assistant to care for her mum, said, “For a year the injections seemed to be working, and while she still had bad days, they seemed to give Mum more energy and she seemed to be doing OK. But then all of a sudden she started declining. She lost that energy along with a lot of weight and her appetite.”

Another bone marrow test showed the chemo was no longer working. Sadly after 18 months of fighting, Jacqui passed away that June. She was just 54.

Jess, who is now also looking after her dad, Alan, who has late-stage liver disease, said, “My mum was my best friend, she was everything to me. I have anxiety and even while she was passing away she was still being my mum, she was counselling me and was everything rolled into one.

“I was so angry because my son, Charlie, was just a baby and would never get to know his grandma. My daughter Grace was older and still remembers her grandma and misses her every day.”

Jacquie and Grace

She added, “Mum was fantastic in every way. She worked as a safeguarding officer at Eastern High and was such a happy and bubbly person to be around.

“She remained so happy, strong and positive throughout it all and never felt sorry for herself. It really helped me and my dad. Her strength helped us be strong for her.

“Her funeral was in lockdown so we were only allowed 50 people in the church, but outside was packed. It just showed how many people loved her. She had so many friends.”

Now, almost three years on, Jess is planning to fundraise in her mum’s memory by running the Brecon Carreg Cardiff Bay 10K for Cancer Research Wales.

Jacquie and Charlie

Dr Lee Campbell, Head of Research at Cancer Research Wales, said: “Inspirational fundraisers like Jess are so important to our work. As the only charity wholly dedicated to funding cancer research in Wales for Wales, the money she is raising will help us to support even more world-class research to provide hope and improve outcomes for the Welsh cancer patients of today and the future.”

Matt Newman, Chief Executive at event organiser Run 4 Wales, added, “We have so many incredible and inspiring runners who take part in our events each year and Jess is proof of that. Despite everything she’s been through, Jess is determined to lace up her running shoes and take on this challenge in memory of her mum and we can’t wait to cheer her over the finish line as she raises money for an extremely worthy cause.”

You can sign up to run for Cancer Research Wales for just £10 when pledging to raise £120. For more information about the Brecon Carreg Cardiff Bay 10K visit cardiffbay10k.co.uk/ or donate to Jess’ fundraising efforts here.