Grandson’s bravery inspires Graham to run Great North Run

CHECT photo: Graham and Zachary Sinclair

Graham Sinclair never thought he would run a half marathon but the tremendous bravery of his three-year-old grandson Zachary has shown him that anything is possible…

When granddad Graham Sinclair announced that he was going to sign up for one of the most famous (and tough) half marathons in the world, no one was more surprised than him.

At the age of 55 he had only just started running, having never shown any interest in it before. But with his three-year-old grandson Zachary Sinclair as his inspiration, Graham has found a strength and determination that he never knew existed before.

Zach’s diagnosis

In 2013, Zach was a few weeks away from celebrating his first birthday when he was diagnosed with retinoblastoma in his left eye. Just a few days later, his family were told the devastating news that he had a second tumour in the centre of his brain. This marked the beginning of a long and arduous journey for Zach, who needed the same amount of chemotherapy as a teenager would have.

A few days before Christmas that year, Zach went into respiratory failure and was rushed to intensive care where his mum Hayley and dad Stuart were told that the next 24 hours were critical. On three different occasions over the next six weeks they were told that there was nothing the doctors could do for him.

But just as utterly heartbroken Hayley and Stuart were preparing to say goodbye, Zach started to pull through. His recovery was nothing short of a miracle.

Now, three years on, Zach is doing really well, although he and his parents still have to go to Birmingham Children’s Hospital every three months for check ups. He is a playful, mischievous little boy who loves going to nursery.

Graham wants to raise awareness of Rb symptoms.

Raising awareness

Graham decided to take up running when Zach was going through his chemotherapy treatment. Since then, he’s completed eight 10k runs but this is his half marathon debut, which he is running to raise awareness of retinoblastoma and funds for the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust.

Graham, from Aberdeen, says: “I’ve been to numerous Great North Runs before over the years but always as a spectator, waiting at the finish line to cheer on my wife Margaret. I never thought that I would actually take part in it myself!

“But this time I’ll be on the other side of the barrier and I’m really looking forward to the experience. My training is going to plan so far and my aim is to raise awareness of this rare cancer so that other children can be diagnosed at the earliest opportunity.

“I also want to help raise money for CHECT, who have given Zach’s parents financial help, paying for their overnight stays when they have had to travel to Birmingham for check ups.”

Graham’s wife Margaret, also 55 and a more experienced runner, is hoping to take part alongside her husband, providing she recovers in time from recent surgery to her knee.

If you would like to sponsor the Sinclairs, please visit their JustGiving page.

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