Every mile run by a Banbury mum in the London Marathon next month is in memory of a baby taken from the world too soon.
Sharon Darke, who lost her own twin babies almost 20 years ago, is running the marathon in aid of Tamba – the Twins and Multiple Births Association – and Oxfordshire Children’s Diabetes Fund.
The bereavement support worker and primary school teacher, 45, got her place in the run through the ballot but still wanted to raise money for good causes.
“I have decorated my running vest with 26 lilac ribbons, each of which contain a babies’ name or names,” she said.
“Mile 26 is for my own boys, Charlie and Joshua who died when they were just a few weeks old in September 1999, mile 24 is for all of our Tamba babies and a few other babies.
“Then miles 1-23 and mile 25 are dedicated to the babies of friends. Each mile I will be thinking of those babies and their families.
“I’ve also created a larger blue ribbon for the diabetes fund as they have been so supportive to my son Samuel who lives with type 1 diabetes.”
Sharon will be cheered on by Samuel, her daughter Jessica, both sets of grandparents, and her supportive husband Dominic who also lives with type 1 diabetes.
It will be her first time doing the London Marathon on April 28, and she is delighted to get through the ballot with such slim odds.
“There’s just a four per cent chance of getting a place through the ballot so I was thrilled when I found out I’d got in,” she said.
“I’ve run a marathon before, but not in London so I cannot wait to get there and soak up the atmosphere.
“I have been training hard, but knowing I am running for two brilliant causes will spur me on.
“Half of the money will specifically go to Tamba’s bereavement support group to assist the great work of the volunteer befrienders.”
Sharon is a member of Cherwell Runners and in 2017, she undertook 18 challenges over 18 days for what would have been Charlie and Joshua’s 18th birthdays, raising money for Tamba.
So far she has raised more than £700 but has a target of £1,000.
Helen Turier, head of support services at Tamba, said: “Sharon’s dedication to Tamba’s bereavement support group is inspiring and we’re delighted that she has chosen to fundraise for us and support the service she is so passionate about.
“Everyone at Tamba wishes her well and I know our volunteer befrienders in the group will be right behind her on the day.”
To support Sharon, visit https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/sharondarke3