Whenever anyone books a photoshoot with us, they become part of our ‘Amberlight Family’; if they are a newborn booking, their due date is noted in our diary, and we look forward to hearing the happy news when baby arrives with as much excitement as if they were our ‘real’ family! And when they return for a Baby Milestone session we love to see how they are growing up into gorgeous cheeky toddlers. So when we were asked to do a birthday photoshoot for a very special little boy who had been poorly, he was instantly warmly welcomed into our little ‘Amberlight family’.
With the help of his Auntie (as this was to be a surprise for Joseph’s family) we learnt about the friendly little animals who would be visiting Joseph as a special treat for his birthday, we then planned the photos we would take at his home, and how we would use natural light to capture memories of this special event for him and his family to treasure afterwards. Joseph’s 8th Birthday was firmly in our diary…
So we were very worried when a few days before his birthday, we were told Joseph’s health had deteriorated, and his birthday plans would have to be put on hold. But we hoped he would be better very soon, and were looking forward to meeting him and his family.
Sadly this was not to be, and we were given the heartbreaking news that Joseph passed away a few days later. We were devastated! We never got to meet little Joseph but his story touched us so much; we could not imagine the pain and sadness his family must be going through. Throughout this incredibly difficult time, Joseph, his Mum, Dad and little brother, were supported by Claire House Children’s Hospice who do the most incredible work for families going through the worst time of their lives.
It was around the same time that Jo heard she had been given a place to run in the 2017 London Marathon…she didn’t need to look far too find the perfect charity to run for – it had to be Claire House!
So at the start of this year, Jo began her training schedule in the build up to the big day – in memory of a little boy called Joseph.
Since January, Jo’s training has been going well, albeit incredibly tough as the distances have increased! But the aches and pains and tiredness are nothing to how Josephs family must feel, and thinking of him often is helping her stay focused as the miles ramp up.
So coming up very soon is the first big test of her fitness and training, as Jo is running in the Anglesey Half Marathon as her first ever experience of a race! If anyone would like to follow her progress on Sunday, 5th March, her race number for Anglesey is 1281. We will keep this blog updated with the results from Anglesey, and add more information about the London Marathon as we get closer to April 23rd!
We are going to be donating £5 from every newborn session booked with Amberlight Images between now and the day of the London marathon to Claire House! If you would also like to donate to Jo’s London Marathon challenge for Claire House Children’s Hospice in memory of Joseph, here is her Just Giving link.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read about Joseph, and for all your support. It is much appreciated.
Jo & Jacqui
♥♥♥ Update 7/3/17, Anglesey Half Marathon ♥♥♥
I did it! On a very cold and extremely wet Sunday morning; the rain started just as we reached the start line on the beautiful Menai Bridge…and it continued relentlessly, all day! The stunning Welsh mountains were hidden behind a misty grey cloak. Like old friends, I missed them – I didn’t get to see them once. And needless to say, I was wet, everywhere! But running in a half marathon was… hmmm… exciting probably isn’t the right word, but it was much more fun than the long lonely training runs, and a great way to experience what its like to take part, a little hint of what running the London marathon may be like!
And you get such a lift on the day from other people! From the friendly and encouraging race marshalls who did an amazing job in that awful weather (If I was cold running, they must have been freezing stood still watching us run past). The other runners who would chat for a short distance while running at a similar pace, and friendly anonymous faces crowding round the finish, cheering you home! Finally, a big shout out to the event photographers on the day, several of them, at various points of the course – crouching under umbrellas, or with cameras ensconced in waterproof gear, who managed to get shots of everyone as they ran past! (I’m not sure event photography appeals to me! Think I will stick to beautiful newborns)
And my official time for the race? A very slow 2 hours and 36 minutes… but I was so so pleased. Photo below taken from the finish line by my sister-in-law, Joanne, who along with my husband and daughter, stayed to give me some amazing support even in the worst rain! xxx
♥♥♥ Training Update 10/4/17 ♥♥♥
Sorry folks, this is something I didn’t want to have to share – the last couple of weeks have been eventful to say the least!
On my penultimate long training run (11 days ago) I picked up an injury. At the time I thought I’d just pulled a muscle in my calf, but a day later after my leg swelled up from ankle to knee, I thought I’d better get it checked. After several days wait to see my GP, she sent me straight to see the orthopaedic team at Arrowe Park hospital who suspected a partial rupture of my Achilles tendon. They advised me that running a marathon probably wasn’t a good idea… Needless to say, I was devastated, not just because of all the time spent training, but for my family who have been there every step of the way, for my charity Claire House, and you guys: my amazing friends who have sponsored and supported me! It’s actually taken me 4 days to come to terms with the possibility that I may not be able to run in London this year, and I’d only just resigned myself to several weeks rest followed by a slow return to training, and deferring my place in the marathon to next year… But there is a glimmer of hope… Today I saw a sports physiotherapist who specialises in lower limb injuries, he has isolated the damage to a tear in the connective tissue in my lower calf, and whilst running the marathon is still not a given, he’s now working with me to try to repair the damage as quickly as possible. I have stretching and strength exercises to do, and whilst I still can’t run for another week, I can swim and cycle to keep my cardio fitness up. It’s not ideal, I’ve missed my final long training run of 32K, and this last week of enforced rest (with wine and chocolate to drown my sorrows) hasn’t helped! But at least I have a fighting chance, so rather than giving up now, I’m waiting until the last possible minute to decide whether or not I can run. I have until midday Friday 21st to cancel the hotel in London, and I can defer my marathon place to next year! Fingers crossed! I’ll let you know how I get on. xxx
♥♥♥ Update 20/4/17 ♥♥♥
Because my Physio wouldn’t allow any running, last week’s ‘training’ consisted of swimming, cycling (on the bike at the Gym – I haven’t been near a Gym in years… was amazed to find you can now watch TV whilst training!) and a power walk. With no more pain or swelling, I was then allowed to slowly start to run again! I tried a tentative short (3K) run last Friday, and after a weekend’s rest and plenty of Easter chocolate to keep my carb intake up managed a couple of 5K runs this week with no lasting pain afterwards!
So today I registered for the Marathon! It suddenly feels very close and now I have my running bib, very official! I’m excited and nervous at the same time – I have so many butterflies in my stomach right now. But run, walk or crawl, I will do my best to get to the finish line on Sunday. And no matter how much it hurts, I will be thinking of Joseph and his family this weekend ♥
#Runningforcharity #RememberingJoseph #ClaireHouseChildren’sHospice
♥♥♥ Marathon Day 23/4/17 ♥♥♥
I didn’t sleep much the night before, nervous, excited and at times terrified! What was I thinking? But when my alarm went I suddenly felt calm. It was time to get on with it! Breakfast at the Hotel at 6.30am helped – at that hour on a Sunday morning, all the other people in there were on the way to the Marathon too.
The atmosphere at the start in Greenwich park was amazing…we watched the wheelchair race and the elite women start on the big screen before lining up ready for the marathon.
And if the atmosphere at the start was amazing, the marathon itself was simply indescribable! The crowd of spectators watching from the beginning right through to the end were awesome. Passing The Cutty Sark at 6 miles was incredible, I really thought it wouldn’t get better than that… until we crossed Tower Bridge, which was so emotional, especially when I spotted my friend in the crowd going absolutely nuts! And still it got better, Canary Wharf was deafening, Westminster louder still, and people all along the route were ‘high fiving’ the runners and handing out sweets! By the time we got to St James park and passed the 1K to go sign, the crowd were carrying me… for the whole last third of the race when I was tired and hurting, they literally carried me! I couldn’t have finished it without them. London did us proud. I’d heard it was the best place in the world to run a marathon, and I totally believe it.
But I would never have got to the start in the first place without the help and support of so many people…my husband Wil, who encouraged me to enter, planned out my training, listened to endless grumbles about aches and pains and ultimately sorted out all the logistics of actually getting to the start! My daughter who hasn’t complained when I’ve had to go for a training run rather than play with her, and would cheerfully accompany me on her bike when I had no other childcare option. And Jacqui, who has worked around my training schedule to keep Amberlight operating smoothly for the last few months. I also have to mention my Physio, Paul Rushton at Willaston Physio, simply because without his help when I injured myself, I wouldn’t have even got to the start!
But I think the biggest thanks have to go to little Joseph, who became my #reasontorun. I thought of him often during the marathon, and his family who have shared his story. And of course, to Claire House, for caring for Joseph, and for the support they gave to me during my training… there is still time to donate to this fantastic charity, or you can find out more about what Claire House do here.
And finally, thank you, for following & supporting my marathon journey.