This Sunday we have a record number of sign-ups for the Oxford Half Marathon - 70 in fact which is pretty amazing!

The Oxford Half is a beautiful marathon set in the heart of our beautiful city of Oxford and we are so grateful to all of our fabulous runners who have chosen our charity to raise money for.

There are numerous reasons our runners choose to run for our special charity. Many have been cared for or have had a loved one looked after by staff in our amazing hospitals and we also have many of our fantastic members of staff from across the trust taking part.

Steven's Story

Last year, Steven and his wife Sam took their daughter to their local GP surgery in Wallingford for her six-week post-natal check-up. It was at this check-up that the doctor picked up that Phoebe's eyesight wasn’t as it should be.

Following a referral to the eye clinic and a series of tests at the John Radcliffe Hospital (JR), it was determined that Phoebe was born with Nance-Horan syndrome, a rare condition that affects various systems in the body, including eyes and teeth growth, and can sometimes lead to delayed development.

At just eight weeks old, little Phoebe was scheduled for surgery at the JR to remove cataracts from both her eyes. The surgery was a success, significantly improving her vision.

Phoebe continues to receive regular check-ups and recently underwent another procedure to remove a membrane from her eye.

Steven comments, ‘Phoebe is now 11 months old and wears contact lenses or glasses on a daily basis.

'We were so lucky that her condition was picked up so early and for her to have had the surgery - it could have been a very different story if it hadn’t; therefore I’m running the Oxford Half this weekend to give back to the hospital that saved Phoebe's sight.’

Matt's Story

Matt’s daughter Sophia, now three, received superb treatment earlier this year from the Children’s Ward at the Horton General, who put her on a treatment plan for an illness that was impacting her quality of life. 

Matt says: ‘The staff on the Children’s Ward at the Horton did amazing work for Sophia, it’s been great to see her living life to the full again and we can’t thank them enough.’ 

After the birth of Matt's son Seb last October, the Oxford Children's Hospital helped to care for him throughout the first 8 months of his life whilst he had prolonged jaundice and needed diagnostic investigations. Matt says he and his wife were supported amazingly whilst staff worked tirelessly to monitor, diagnose and provide treatment.
Matt is no stranger to a half marathon, with a couple already under his belt, but this year he is aiming for a very specific personal best, ‘I will be happy with any time under 1 hour 45 minutes 38 seconds”, says Matt. “I’ve wanted to run the Oxford half marathon a couple of times before but both times I had a place I got injured, so this is one I would like to conquer!”

Bex's Story

Bex Emptage, from Bicester, is an Executive Assistant at the John Radcliffe Hospital.

Inspired by watching the London Marathon in April earlier this year she signed up to run the Oxford Half for Oxford Hospitals Charity.

‘This is so out of my comfort zone you wouldn’t believe, but I was so inspired by all those London Marathon runners that I wanted to challenge myself, so here we are!’

‘I’m running for Oxford Hospitals Charity which I’m so proud to be doing, they do such amazing work and working at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust it was never going to be for anyone else.

‘I’ve seen just how they’ve made a difference to thousands of families and hospital staff.’

This is Bex’s first half marathon and we have been watching her journey closely on LinkedIn, where she has posted regular updates of her progress.

‘I'm very much not a runner... I have run on and off for a couple of years but never further than 5K - so signing up for this was a big challenge.

Rob's Story

Rob is running the Oxford Half Marathon to raise funds for the Silver Star Society, which is an essential part of the Oxford Hospital Charity that supports the Fetal Medicine Unit at the JR. 

Rob’s journey began in October 2019, when he and his wife Rachel learned about their pregnancy.

After experiencing dizziness and a collapse at work, Rob and Rachel visited the John Radcliffe Hospital, to discover they were expecting identical twins. Their pregnancy progressed with regular scans but differences in their growth became evident, leading to a diagnosis of Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS).

Specialists recommended two critical procedures to save both babies, despite the challenges posed by the proximity of their umbilical cords. Unfortunately, despite their best efforts, they lost Zoe just before reaching 18 weeks.

In the following weeks, they faced the risk of brain damage for Keziah, but a subsequent MRI scan revealed no issues. At 27 weeks Rachel’s waters broke, leading to a week of hospital monitoring.

Keziah was born nine weeks early via an emergency C-section. Both mother and baby were fine, although Keziah needed to remain in the hospital for five weeks to reach a suitable weight before coming home.

Rob and Rachel have previously raised an amazing £6000 for the charity and helped to buy a CTG machine for the unit that helps to monitor a baby’s heartbeat.

Rob’s participation in the marathon is a tribute to, Zoe, and a way to support the Silver Star Society's crucial work at the Fetal Medicine Unit, which played a significant role in their journey.

‘We got to know them so well during our time there. They looked after us all in our time of need and we will never forget that.’ Says Rob.

‘I am an Oxford lad and I am really looking forward to running this weekend. It is a great event.’