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Mike runs 2 halves and the London Marathon

In October 2014, Mike Barclay ran the Great West Run to raise money for SOFT. Not content with this, he also ran the Falmouth half marathon and Rock Solid Race Exeter in March 2015 before finally running the London Marathon in May 2015. Mike met his own personal goal of raising £1500 for SOFT (and smashed his time in the marathon). An amazing success all round!

Mike's mother, Sue, explains a little more about their reasons for supporting SOFT

"I had a little girl in October 1991 who was born with Edwards' Syndrome. At the time, this was a late diagnosis at 33 weeks’ gestation and she was delivered by an elective Caesarean section at 35 weeks under general anaesthetic.  Disclosure, by hospital staff at the time was quite damaging and difficult for me in those very early days, although the support later, as she remained in hospital until 5 weeks old, was simply brilliant. I hope that staff at this particular hospital do understand more about how to support and communicate with families in such a tragic situation, as at their request, I gave a talk about my experiences in the Autumn of 1993, which for me, was incredibly cathartic.

In 1991 SOFT was newly formed and supported us by letter and literature and I would like to think when I retire, I will be able to support the charity more actively. I am very impressed about how things have moved on with the SOFT UK website and links to all sorts of relevant information for both families and professionals.

It is now 23 years since Little Susan was born and although she only lived for just under 12 weeks, the impact upon me, in terms of personal relationships and career progression, has been significant. It took me 21 years to have final closure and I think it is true that such “complicated” grief is much harder to deal with. It is vital that parents and mothers in particular, can share their experiences with others so they understand they are not alone. It can often take a very long time indeed to come to terms with such a tragic experience and it can be the smallest things that re-ignite tears of emotion.

Now 23 years on, my son Michael, who was born just over 18 months after Susan, is raising funds for SOFT UK via two half marathons and the London Marathon in April 2015. So far in just one week, he has raised over £500 of his £1500 target total, and I am incredibly proud of his commitment and drive because he wants to give something back.

One should never underestimate the impact of such a tragic event and I hope that others may be able to draw some comfort from the fact that it is true what they say, that time does eventually heal things. I think fate sometimes plays a hand in life and whilst my teaching colleagues and parents are not aware of the past, the empathy I can bring to working with SEND/LDD children as a SENDCO within the independent sector is due in part to some of the personal experiences I have had."

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