Having been told her cancer is inoperable, the inspirational Viv Pow is staging a fundraising fun run and walk in Darlington’s South Park next month. PETER BARRON calls for a big turnout to make it a celebration of her life
AT 6pm on the 6th day of the 6th month, something very special is happening in Darlington’s beautiful South Park – and Viv Pow and her friends would love as many people as possible to join them.
That’s when Viv’s Positivity Power Fun Run and Walk will take place to raise money for Cancer Research UK, and it’s a chance to celebrate the life of an inspirational woman.
“It’s about wanting to bring people of all ages and abilities together to enjoy being in the fresh air, in a community spirit, while raising money for a wonderful cause,” says Viv, a mum-of-two and grandma-of-three.
I’ve written about Viv several times over the years in recognition of her defiance of cancer, her passion for helping others, and her determination to live what’s left of her life to the full.
The former Durham policewoman, who lives at Middleton Tyas, was told last June that her cancer is inoperable, with doctors saying she may have two years to live. But the 58-year-old refuses to be beaten and insists she’ll outlive the doctors’ predictions.
The 5k run and walk on June 6 – supported by Darlington Harriers – is her latest attempt to “give cancer a kick up the bum” and she deserves all our support for everything she’s done to raise money, awareness, and spirits since she was first diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2012.
Sixteen weeks after her first bout of chemotherapy, she completed the Yorkshire Marathon. When the cancer returned in 2014, her colon had to be removed and an ileostomy bag fitted, but that didn’t stop her running.
Within three months, she’d recorded a personal best time in the Darlington 10k and went on to run the Rome Marathon. Other marathons followed in Paris, Edinburgh, Kielder, London and Loch Ness, as well as the Great North Run.
As well as raising more than £20,000 for a range of charities, including Beating Bowel Cancer, Macmillan Cancer Support, MIND, and the Junior Diabetes Research Foundation, she’s counselled others who needed to wear an ileostomy bag, showing them that it doesn’t mean life has to stop.
Viv is supported by husband, Jeff, her two sons, Sam and Matthew, and a devoted group of friends, known as “The Marathon Marvels”. They include Tracy Kirk, a Durham police officer, who completed the Brighton Marathon on April 10 in just over five hours and has raised more than £3,700 for Cancer Research UK. Tracy’s next challenge is the Swaledale Marathon on June 11, followed by the Great North Run in October.
“I’m running miles and miles, with a smile, for my best friend,” says Tracy.
Meanwhile, Viv is still a regular at the Darlington Parkrun on Saturday mornings. It’s a case of walking the three laps of the park these days, although she hasn’t given up hope of running the course again one day.
I walked with her last Saturday and, in between apologising for “an annoying cough”, she talked about how she’s still getting on with life.
“I had four days in hospital at the start of May, but then had a wonderful holiday in the Isle of Skye,” she told me. “Most of the time, I feel fine, and I’m enjoying having time with my three grandchildren.”
Viv has been contacted by the national organisers of Race For Life, who want to use her uplifting story to promote this year’s event, which will again raise money for Cancer Research UK, with the Darlington race taking place in South Park on June 19.
But first, it’s Viv’s Positivity Power Fun Run and Walk on June 6. It’s open to anyone to run or walk, and there’ll be cakes and a tombola too.
My plea is for Darlington, and the wider North-East, to turn out in force. It costs just £10 per adult and £5 for children – please come because that’s what Viv Pow so richly deserves.
“One in two of us will have cancer and we have to raise awareness and as much money as possible so that, one day, they find a cure,” says Viv.
“Whatever life throws at us, we need to find the power of being positive. Life is precious. Life is wonderful. Embrace every day. Together we can do it, so please join us on June 6.”
No wonder her name can be found in Joie de Vivre.
- To register, please CLICK HERE or sign up on the day.
ON the subject of special people, I was delighted to see that the late James Charlton, below, was posthumously honoured at Darlington Football Club’s award night last week.
James, who died suddenly in February, aged just 26, was a lifelong supporter of The Quakers, and an active volunteer whenever the club needed help.
His parents, Carol and Steve, were given a standing ovation as they were presented with The Harvey Madden Award on his behalf.
Carol said: “James would have been delighted to have received this recognition from the club he loved so much.”
Well done Darlington Football Club for making sure that James’s memory lives on.
FINALLY, many congratulations to Councillor Heather Scott, below, who stepped down as Darlington Council leader last week.
We go back a long way. Heather was first elected as a councillor in May 1976 – eight years before I turned up to start covering the council’s affairs as a green-as-grass young reporter.
She went on to make local history by becoming the first female leader in the council’s 152-year history.
We had our disagreements over the years, but she was always fair, friendly, and formidable when it came to standing up for Darlington.
Although Heather is to continue as a Conservative councillor, her departure as leader is an opportune moment to salute such distinguished public service and say thank you.