Running the marathon miles in memory of her beloved husband
We’ve all been there. Standing on a station platform, usually cold and wet after a long day, and you hear the familiar announcement that the train you’ve been waiting patiently for has been delayed. But have you ever really listened to the voice behind the announcement? Well it more than likely belongs to Phil Sayer – one of the leading voice over artists of his generation. He is also the firm but kind voice behind the famous ‘Mind the Gap’ announcement you hear throughout the London Underground, among many other things.
In April 2016 Elinor Hamilton’s life changed in a way she never would have imagined. Phil – her brave, witty and loving husband and father to their two young sons - passed away after a two year fight against oesophageal cancer.
Phil went through several rounds of chemo, an oesophagogastrectomy with days in the Intensive Care Unit, more chemo and then palliative care. Despite his survival chances on diagnosis being lower than 16%, his good humour, natural charm and positivity shone throughout his treatment keeping everyone going during this difficult time.
He never gave up, never stopped working and although the end came suddenly, he used his inimitable brand of Tumour Humour right up until he died.
Only four months later, whilst Elinor was supporting friends, family and her two young sons, Alex and Ben and managing early widowhood, she was given the devastating news that she had developed breast cancer.
She had exactly the same stage of cancer Phil had and naturally her world collapsed.
While grieving she had two surgeries, months of chemotherapy and long sessions of radiotherapy – it took over her life.
During this time she also had to keep the business running and care for her recently bereaved children without Phil there to hold her hand or reassure the boys that she wasn’t going to die as well. Elinor also had to walk the family puppy come rain or shine, which was Phil’s idea – something she is still to forgive him for!
A few months ago, Elinor finally received some good news – she had the all clear following her treatment. To celebrate this and to prove to her boys she has a long life ahead of her, she has decided to run the London Marathon next month to raise much-needed funds for Worldwide Cancer Research.
London is also a special place for her to take on this gruelling challenge as Phil - the voice of ‘Mind the Gap’- will be with her all the way, announcing the underground stations below the roads she will be running on.
Elinor’s determination in the face of such adversity and fear of the unknown is hugely commendable and her passion for raising money for oesophageal cancer research is incredibly humbling.
“I feel particularly fortunate that I've benefited from years of research - especially because our children now don't need to face losing another parent. However, it saddens me deeply that research into Phil's type of cancer is so far behind.
“Worldwide Cancer Research has assured me that all the money I raise will go specifically towards research into oesophageal cancer and hopefully, between us, we can help to ‘Phil the Gap’ between the survival rates for oesophageal and breast cancers.”
Elinor is simply amazing and we are privileged to know and support her through her marathon journey. Thank you Elinor, and thank you to all your family and friends helping you reach your fundraising target. We will be the thousands of supporters cheering you on Sunday 22 April and thinking of Phil as he accompanies you every step of the way.
To support Elinor’s fundraising efforts for Worldwide Cancer Research, please donate here.