'If I can do it you can': Northampton widower to run London Marathon with late wife's palliative care nurse

Resilient 68-year-old Trevor is well into his training routine for his second London marathon but this year he is running with a partner by his side - his late wife's cancer nurse, Lisa.

Monday, 25th March 2019, 4:44 pm
Updated Monday, 25th March 2019, 10:41 pm
Lisa Whelan and Trevor Hardwell are gearing up to take on the London Marathon on April 28 together and will be cheering each other on until they cross the finish line.

Trevor Hardwell of West Hunsbury lost his wife, Ros, to breast cancer in January 2017 and signed up to race his first 26-miles last year to help give back to one of the charities who supported the duo.

This year, the 68-year-old is not racing alone, instead he has teamed up with Lisa Whelan, Ros's former Cynthia Spencer Hospice nurse, who cared for Ros before she died.

Lisa Whelan, 47, of Hardingstone, has worked for Cynthia Spencer Hospice for four years as a community specialist palliative care nurse. Prior to that she worked for over 25 years on the oncology and palliative care ward at Northampton General Hospital.

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Trevor Hardwell and Lisa Whelan have been training together since last year.

She is racing this year to fundraise for the hospice. She said: "To fundraise for this fabulous charity is an honour and I thank them for placing their trust in me to complete the marathon.

"It will be amazing to run for them. You see so much courage every day, really it's inspiring."

But not only did Lisa provide help to Ros, she was there to support Trevor after his wife passed away too.

Trevor said: "Lisa came out to see Ros on a regular basis. People like Lisa - I don't know if they know the affect they have on their patients.

"I saw the affects when Lisa had gone.

"Ros always said 'when is Lisa coming back again?', she loved to talk to her and felt at ease with Lisa."

Trevor, a former housing officer from Bristol, had never ran the marathon before he turned 67 and is now running his second marathon in two years.

Trevor is fundraising for Macmillan Cancer Support as Ros was also very fond of another nurse called Ruth who paid her regular visits during her chemotherapy treatment while she was in hospital.

Ruth then put Lisa in touch with Trevor and Ros to carry out home visits, and their friendship blossomed.

"She encouraged me to do the marathon," Trevor said of Lisa.

"I did it last year and when I saw her the week after she said: ‘I have always wanted to do it’.

"I kept saying: ‘why don't you run it with me’? The first run we did together was nine miles.

“She is so gritty and determined."

Trevor had not raced for 19 years in the lead up to his first London Marathon last year.

"It was the most wonderful experience," Trevor said. "I was proud to receive my medal at the end of a hot day.

"However the crowds lining the streets and the thought of everyone who sponsored me gave me the strength and endurance to see it through.

"I have continued to run since then and I am running for Macmillan Cancer Support again. The support given to Ros in her final year was something to behold. This support and care is continuing for me as I struggle to live life without my caring and brave wife."