9 Oct 2020 Community
Stevie Conway takes on running challenge for The Kirkwood
Heroic supporter, Stevie Conway, recently took on the challenge of running from his hometown of Hartlepool to Dewsbury and raised a staggering £5,000 to help The Kirkwood Support Life in Kirklees.
Stevie Conway, who now lives in Chickenley, Dewsbury, recently went through a devastating experience when his mum, sister and brother all sadly died within a 13-month period. Devastated by the sudden tragedies, Stevie decided to take on a huge challenge to raise money for a local charity very close to his heart.
Stevie reflects on his experience over the last few years: “In December 2016, my mum received the news she had metastatic breast cancer. It wasn’t curable, but it was treatable.
Stevie with his mum and two children
“My sister Sheena was with her when she received the news, and from that point on remained at her side for every appointment. 15 months into mum’s treatment, Sheena, 37, suddenly died in her sleep.”
Stevie’s brother, Shaun, who still lived in their hometown of Hartlepool, travelled to West Yorkshire shortly after Sheena’s death to be with his family, before falling ill himself when he developed Sepsis from a chest infection.
“He was rushed to Pinderfields Hospital where he was moved to intensive care on life support” Steve continued. “On the 20th March, one day after we buried Sheena, Shaun’s life support was switched off. He died on the 21st March.”
The shock of losing both of Stevie’s siblings devastated the Conway family, and both Stevie and his mum struggled to come to terms with the loss.
“Mum was tired of fighting and was broken by the loss of two children. She decided she couldn’t fight any longer and made the decision to refuse all further treatment. She gave us 11 months, never complained through her grief or pain, before passing away peacefully on 25th February 2019.
“It was during those last few weeks The Kirkwood were able to grant her final wishes; making her comfortable and allowing her the dignity she so rightly deserved.
“When I look back at the 13 months it took to destroy my family, it’s like listening to someone else talk about it – I still can’t quite believe it. I struggle with guilt; did I fail Sheena? Did I forget about her when Shaun went into hospital? Did I spend enough time with Shaun? Why didn’t I press Mum to continue with her treatment? Did I tell her I loved her enough in those final few days? The list goes on.”
After months of trying to comprehend the recent tragedies, the former IBO Boxing Champion set himself a target of running 91 miles from Hartlepool to Dewsbury. Stevie set himself the mammoth challenge in memory of his mum, Sheena and Shaun, and to raise awareness of the support we provided his mum at the end of her life.
Initially setting himself a goal of raising £1,000, Stevie’s fundraiser was postponed earlier in the year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. With restrictions easing throughout the summer months, Stevie decided to bite the bullet and begin his challenge on Saturday 29th August.
Stevie’s run took him a total of three days to complete, running around 31 miles each day until reaching his home in Dewsbury. Having never run a marathon before, Stevie took on the run solo with only his thoughts for company.
The challenge gave Stevie something to focus on and feels it has improved his mental health and helped with the grieving process. Stevie added: “I’m getting there day by day, but I decided to raise money for The Kirkwood to give them something back.”
Stevie couldn’t have done it without the incredible support from his family, friends and work colleagues. Stevie’s employer, Morley Glass, have been a huge support system over the last few years and generously provided him with a branded running top, three pairs of running shoes along with an amazing donation.
Kathy and Ian Short, owners of Morley Glass, said: “Stevie has worked with us for over seven years and he’s always been a really valuable member of the team. Life has been pretty tough for him over the last couple of years, but he’s always been the type of person to do all in his power to see the good in any situation.
“It’s been a pleasure to support him in his fundraising for The Kirkwood.”
Stevie has been amazed and delighted by the generosity and support that he has received and would like to thank his support crew and loved ones for helping him during his challenge.
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