Wiganer Chris to be remembered with London Marathon run
A Wigan man, whose tragic cancer battle was filmed for a heartbreaking TV show, is to be remembered by one of his close friends who will run the London Marathon in his memory.
Laura Coleman will run the 26-mile race next weekend in memory of Chris Cowley, the Orrell father-of-two who died last October after a long fight with a rare form of bone cancer called Ewings Sarcoma.
Laura, 37 and from Chadderton, was close friends with Chris.
The pair had a shared passion for running and had talked about running together when Chris recovered.
Laura said: “During his tremendous battle, he lost his leg and was fitted with a new prosthetic one.
“When he got the new leg, he made a ‘double’ promise that he’d run with me.”
Sadly, it was a opportunity Chris would never have, but Laura has been pushing herself to her physical limits to raise money and awareness of Chris’s illness.
She has previously competed in several running events in Chris’s memory, such as the Great North Run, but the London marathon will be her toughest challenge yet, both mentally and physically.
“I know it’s going to be really emotional,” said Laura. “Maybe he’ll be there in spirit.”
She hopes to raise Â£3,000 for Sarcoma UK, a charity dedicated to researching the type of cancer which Chris bravely fought to survive.
Chris was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma on Christmas Eve 2015, and his battle with the illness was documented last year in Fighting Cancer: My Online Diary.
He had spent months thinking a problem with his ankle was a sports injury and then gout, but Chris had to undergo chemotherapy and a leg amputation in May 2016.
He was determined to walk on his prosthetic leg by Christmas, and walked out of hospital that November with no sign of the disease.
But just a few weeks later, he suffered back pain and scans showed he had secondary cancer in his back and lungs.
He was told he might have two years to live, if doctors could get it under control.
Chris had more treatment but stopped chemotherapy in September last year when he had a reaction to it and developed an infection.
Just two weeks before the TV programme aired, Chris died in hospital on October 10 with wife Becky at his side. The couple had two children, Sam and Lily.
“She’s been really fantastic,” Laura said of Becky, who is the cousin of Laura’s husband.
“She’s just been taking it a day at a time. I think we’re all really proud of how she’s coped. She’s so strong willed.”
Laura expressed her gratitude to all the generous Wiganers who have already donated to the cause. To donate, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/laura-coleman19