Two good reasons why OX5 keeps on running

The Oxford Times: BRAVE: Tabitha Durkin with her five-year-old son Zac, left, and Suzanne White, with Finlay, nine, will be running next year’s OX5 BRAVE: Tabitha Durkin with her five-year-old son Zac, left, and Suzanne White, with Finlay, nine, will be running next year’s OX5

A BRAVE boy fighting cancer has had a 10-hour operation to help him beat the disease.

Finlay White, nine, was diagnosed with the bone cancer osteosarcoma in August.

Since September he has been going through rounds of chemotherapy on Kamran’s Ward at Oxford Children’s Hospital, part of the West Wing at the John Radcliffe in Headington.

On Tuesday, the Ducklington Primary School pupil was there to have some of the bone in his left leg removed.

His mum Suzanne White, 40, said: “It is devastating – you never think it is going to be your child. I just wished it was me rather than him.

“But he is doing really well with it and when the initial shock wore off you know you have to get on with it.”

Finlay underwent a 10-hour operation, which saw the cancer removed and donor bone inserted, on Tuesday.

Although he will be in plaster for six weeks and faces six months more chemotherapy, his mum says he is doing well.

She said: “The operation went really well. They are really pleased with him.

“Obviously he will need constant checkups but it should mean he will be able to lead a normal life.”

She added: “The care at the hospital has been absolutely fantastic.

“I really feel lucky to live where we do, so close to the hospital.”

Mrs White plans to take part in the OX5 Run.

She said: “I am not a runner – I am just starting to do the training now – I just want to raise as much as I can so that other children can have the best equipment like Finlay has.”

Mrs White and husband Keiron, from Sherbourne Road, noticed a lump on Finlay’s leg when they were putting sun cream on him on holiday in Rhodes in July.

Weeks later he was diagnosed with cancer and started treatment.

To fundraise for Oxford Children’s Hospital she has teamed up with another Witney parent, whose son is also being treated for cancer in the same ward, to do the OX5 Run at Blenheim Palace in Woodstock on March 30.

The annual five-mile sprint, run, jog, or walk in the grounds of the palace this year raised £98,000 for the hospital.

Tabitha Durkin, 36, is running with Mrs White for her own son, Zac.

The five-year-old from Colwell Drive was diagnosed with leukaemia in June.

Mrs Durkin said: “He is doing really well and responding to the treatment but it does make him quite poorly at times. It is a bit up and down – he has good days and bad days but he is seven months into his chemo treatment now, out of three years.”

The pair are forming their own team to take on the OX5 Run which is organised by the Oxford Mail and is the biggest annual fundraiser for the children’s hospital.

It is hoping to beat the £100,000 mark in 2014 after a record-breaking £98,000 this year.

Hospital spokesman Penny Hambridge said: “When you hear that families of children like Finlay and Zac have signed up to do the run it is truly inspiring.

“The support of these parents, when they are already going through so much, shows how they value the children’s hospital and the charity that supports it.

“We are incredibly grateful to all those who take part in the run every year, as well as the Oxford Mail for organising the event and Allen Associates who sponsor it.

“We are also grateful to Blenheim Palace who allow the run to take place in their beautiful grounds.

“We hope that the local community will help us make the next OX5 Run another huge success.

“Please do consider signing up for the run, or putting together a team.”

FACT FILE

  • The Oxford Mail OX5 Run is a five-mile run around the grounds of Blenheim Palace, now in its 12th year.
  • The run has raised more than £500,000 for the children’s hospital and supports children’s care across Oxford University Hospitals Trust, including the Children’s Ward and Children’s A&E at the Horton General Hospital, Children’s Intensive Care and Newborn Units and other children’s out-patient departments across the trust.
  • The next run will take place on Sunday, March 30, next year, starting at 10.30am.
  • Last year more than 1,100 entered with 960 taking part on the day, raising more than £98,000.
  • The winner, Les Newell whipped round in 28 minutes and 14 seconds and the fastest female, Natalie Babington, ran in 33 minutes and 15 seconds.
  • The overall team cup was won once again by Siemens, while newcomers Nicholson Nursery took the Corporate Cup and the Oxford Vaccine Group kept the Community Cup.
  • People can run individually or as part of a team.
  • It costs £10 to enter and we ask all runners to aim to raise £100 or more.
  • For more information go to hospitalcharity.co.uk/ox5run

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