Santa Run for Bedford’s little Harry

The sister of a Bedford boy who died is calling on the people of the town to paint the Embankment a sea of red and support Bedford’s Santa Run on 4 December 2016.

Ella Russell’s. 5, brother, Harry,3, died at Keech Hospice Care, Bedfordshire’s children’s hospice, in November 2015. Ella, who lives in the Castle Quarter of Bedford, is asking everyone to get their Santa suit on.

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“It’s a magical thing. I love seeing all the Santas having fun as they run and walk around the Embankment. Last year, just after Harry died, me, Mummy & Daddy went to watch all the Santa’s. It was brilliant! I’m doing it this year to remember my little brother.”

In his short life, Harry had to cope with both physical and mental disabilities including hearing and vision loss, epilepsy, breathing problems and being fed through a tube. His mum, Julie said Harry taught their family how to live in the moment.

 “Our handsome Superhero Harry had the most beautiful soul and smile,” said Julie. “He gave the most amazing cuddles and you’d never want to let go. Harry taught us, and Keech always showed us, how to make every moment count. We feel the Santa Run is the perfect positive event not only to remember Harry, but to raise precious funds and awareness for our local children’s hospice.

“With millions of rooftops to reach in just one night, Santa must be quick on his feet. But, for us, Keech’s Santa Run will quite literally be a walk in the park – running is a no no! We're all looking forward to soaking up the atmosphere. Having lived by the river for many years, we’d take Harry for walks in his wheelchair on the exact same route so we’ll be celebrating Harry’s life and having fun with all the other Santas.

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As a charity, Keech Hospice Care relies on 70% of its funding to come from its community for its survival.

“It took us a considerable while to accept Harry’s disabilities and not feel bitter and angry,” said Harry’s Dad, Mark. The most significant moment in Harry’s short life, and certainly for us as a family, was when Keech came into it. It was a huge turning point. Hospice care is not just about death, it‘s very much about living and Keech made Harry’s final year very much about life and gave us so much support.

 “I remember asking the doctor when we first arrived at Keech how long as a family we could be looked after by the charity. Doctor Justin replied we had got Keech Hospice Care for the duration of Harry’s life and however many years we needed it for afterwards. I just thought that’s a massive commitment from Keech to our family. Doctor Justin was so sincere when he said it and I was blown away. This massive weight as a Dad just came off my shoulders.

 “I never thought I’d need my local children’s hospice but I don’t know where we’d be now if we hadn’t had it. So, Bedford, please come and give Santa a run for his money at Keech Hospice Care’s 5km sponsored Santa Run on Sunday 4 December at Bedford Embankment.”

Kick start the countdown to Christmas by signing up for Keech’s Santa Run at www.keech.org.uk/santarun or call 01582 707940. Entry is just £15 for adults and includes a Santa costume to keep, finishers medal and gift. Under 16's is £5 and includes festive headwear, and family entry for two adults and three children is £40.

For further information please contact Lorna Chinnock, Head of Communications and Marketing on 01582 497874 or at lchinnock@keech.org.uk.

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