Support Jo Swinson as she runs half marathon in memory of her Dad

I have some very happy memories of Peter Swinson. He was a lovely man. He was so supportive of Jo’s campaigns, Whether it was knocking on doors in East Dunbartonshire, delivering super human quantities of election literature or dancing with her at her wedding, his pride in her was so obvious.

Peter sadly passed away a year ago. He had had a blood cancer for some time. In three weeks’ time, Jo is running the London Half Marathon in his memory.

On her Just Giving page, she explains why:

When my dad was diagnosed with blood cancer in 2008, we worried a lot.

I remember we worried whether he’d be able to walk me down the aisle on my wedding day. Happily back then in 2011 Dad was still in excellent health: cycling for miles, delivering thousands of leaflets in Bishopbriggs and hitting the hills when he could.

In the summer of 2015 it all started to go wrong.  Rapidly Dad’s health deteriorated – in July we were climbing The Cobbler, with its peak just shy of 3,000ft. By August Dad was in hospital. That autumn the treatment started, a mix of steroids and chemo.

Dad had amazing NHS care at the world-class Beatson Institute, but it was a rollercoaster, as anyone who has lived with cancer knows. Positive news then hopes dashed. Bleak outlook then a chink of light.

The end of Dad’s second round of chemotherapy came almost exactly a year ago. He went for a PET scan and his consultant said the results were ‘marvellous’ – for all the gruelling treatment, the response looked really good. She gave him a particular treatment to boost his immunity so he could take public transport for the first time in months, in order to travel to London to watch my receive my CBE at Buckingham Palace.  It was a brilliant day.

Sadly, the breathlessness that we had hoped was a side-effect of the chemo turned out to be pulmonary fibrosis, a lung condition that rapidly worsened. Dad was enjoying getting back to normal post-chemo – he went on a 13 mile bike ride, made social plans, picked me and Andrew up when we landed at Glasgow airport. Then suddenly he was admitted to hospital, and a few days later he died.

Dad lived 10 years after his blood cancer diagnosis, and enjoyed some fabulous quality of life within that time, not least with the 3 grandchildren that he lived to meet. That’s the difference more time makes.

Research is constantly improving treatments so that people live longer and with more wellbeing after blood cancer diagnosis.  This work that Bloodwise does is vital, so please do give what you can to support their work.

It is bound to be an emotional run for Jo. If you can chip in a few quid to help her raise money for Bloodwise in Peter’s memory, it will definitely help to give her encouragement!

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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