Brother's sudden death spurs Darren to run

June 30 2017

A CADBURY Heath man is running a half marathon for charity after his fit and healthy brother died following a stroke at the age of 41.

A CADBURY Heath man is running a half marathon for charity after his fit and healthy brother died following a stroke at the age of 41.

Darren Wilshire says his brother Steve's death, in May last year, has devastated his family because it came completely out of the blue.

In fact, at the time of his death, Steve had been in such good health he had been training for  a 10k run to raise money for charity.

Now Darren wants to raise awareness of the work of the Stroke Association which helps fund research into the medical condition.

He will be running the Cheltenham half marathon this autumn and hopes to raise as much money and awareness as possible to support the charity's work.

Darren, 35, who works in the catering department at the BRI, said: "There's lots of cancer charities out there but not so much information out there for people about how strokes can affect your life.

"I work in a hospital and see the impact strokes can have every day. Even if people survive a stroke, sometimes their lives are never fully the same again. My heart breaks every time I see someone who has been affected because I've been through it all with my brother."

Steve, who was from Cadbury Heath but lived in Kent at the time of his death, was in a coma following his stroke but sadly died three weeks later. 

He was taken to hospital and diagnosed quickly but the stroke had been severe.

"Steve was a fit and healthy guy with no health problems or family history of strokes so it came as a huge shock to us all," Darren said.

"It's really opened my eyes to the fact that no matter how fit and healthy you are, you can still have a stroke."

Steve had been due to run in a 10k race in aid of diabetes just three days after he died but remarkably Darren took his place as a tribute to his brother.

"I'm a keen runner and usually run five or six half marathons every year. Steve wanted to run one and asked my advice. He signed up for a 10k run in Kent but died just before he was due to take part.

"I felt I wanted to run it in his memory, which I did and gave my medal and tee-shirt to Steve's ten-year-old son, Owen." 

Although Steve's funeral was held in Kent, Darren helped organise a balloon and Chinese lantern launch in Cadbury Heath a few days later so friends in the area could pay their respects.

Darren said: "People who grew up with Steve but couldn't make it to Kent came along to say goodbye to him. It was really emotional."

Darren, who has another brother and two sisters, has been training for the 13.1 mile half marathon on Sunday October 1 by running home from the BRI several times a week as well as working out in the gym.

"I'm an active guy anyway," he said.

"I've run the Bristol half marathon for the last four years but I wanted to run a course I'd not done before so it would offer a bit more of a challenge, which is why I opted to try Cheltenham.

"I don't put myself under pressure by saying I'm going complete it in a certain time. I just want to go at my own pace and at the same time raise awareness and some money on Steve's behalf."

Darren, who lives with partner Katie, will be running with his prized possession - a football pendant containing his brother's ashes.

"I usually keep it in my wallet as I know it's safe there but I will put it on a chain and wear it during the run. I'll know that part of him is running with me."

If you would like to support Darren, you can donate by visiting www.virginmoneygiving.com/darrenwilshire

Darren is interested in hearing from anyone who could  join him in the half marathon in support of the Stroke Association. Email  darren_wilshire@hotmail.co.uk