SOME 17 years after medics saved the life of his 13-year-old son, Oxford Children’s Hospital still has a special place in Paul Murray’s heart.
Mr Murray, from Summertown, will take part in next Sunday’s event for the first time as a small thank-you to the hospital.
Son Michael was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour and had chemotherapy, radiotherapy and a five-hour operation in 1997.
His estate agent father, 63, is hoping to raise about £300 for the Headington hospital.
Mr Murray was himself diagnosed with a non-cancerous brain tumour which was removed four years ago at the John Radcliffe Hospital.
Married to Melanie, Mr Murray said: “Michael survived, we were very, very lucky. Some of the friends he made during his treatment at the hospital were not as lucky.
“I remember it was pretty scary, it was all touch-and-go at the time. Something like that hits you over the course of a few days – everyone else’s life goes on as normal and yours comes to a complete halt.”
Michael was treated at the city centre Radcliffe Infirmary, which moved to the Oxford Children’s Hospital site in 2007.
He graduated with a 2:1 in history at Aberystwyth University in 2006 and completed a law conversion course in 2008.
He now works as a lawyer in Bristol.
Mr Murray, also dad to Simon, 41, Daniel, 40, and Patrick, 27, said he could never forget his son’s surgeon, Peter Richards. He added: “I heard about the OX5 Run and thought it was a good opportunity for me to do something to help.”
1,500m World Championship silver medallist Hannah England talks to runners as celebrity chef Raymond Blanc prepares to sound the starter horn at last year’s OX5
Picture: OX57861 Damian Halliwell
Gates will open at 8.30am and a Zumba-style warm-up will be taken by George Martini at 10am, with the run starting at 10.30am.
Online registration at oxfordmail.co.uk/news/ox5run closes at 11.45pm on Thursday.
Entry forms can be dropped off at the fundraising office in Manor House at the John Radcliffe – call first on 01865 743444 to check available places.
Registration on the day costs £15 and must be done by 9.30am.
Most runners will have had racing numbers sent through the post already.
If you haven’t, collect them on the day from 8.30am at the registration tent by the Pleasure Gardens at Blenheim Palace.
Entrance to the grounds is through the Hensington Gate on the A44 Oxford Road.
Entrance to the grounds and parking is free for runners and supporters.
Children’s hospital spokesman Sarah Vaccari said: “This five-mile fun run round the beautiful grounds of Blenheim Palace is your chance to help thousands of children being treated by the Oxford Children’s Hospital.
“The event provides life-changing medical equipment and wonderful facilities for poorly babies, children and teenagers.
“Thank you for taking part and helping so many children. We hope you enjoy the run.”
WHAT YOUR MONEY HELPED TO BUY
WITH last year’s £98,000 the Oxford Children’s Hospital was able to buy:
- Two state-of-the-art open incubators for the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit, which help ill babies with bronchiolitis.
- An ultrasound machine for minimally invasive surgery, meaning children recover more quickly and can go home sooner.
Competitors at last year's event
- A pro-magnetic cell sorting machine that separates cells from the blood using a magnet. It is used for a research project into childhood immunisation by the Oxford Vaccine Group. They are trying to find new ways to protect children against some the leading causes of childhood death in England, including meningitis and septicaemia.
- A 3-D pain distraction system. It calms and distracts children during what can be painful physiotherapy and rehabilitation sessions following treatments.
LAST YEAR'S ROLL OF HONOUR
- 2013 men’s winner was Les Newell, crossing the line in 28 minutes and 14 seconds
- The fastest woman was Natalie Babington, who finished in 33 minutes and 15 seconds
- The overall team cup was won by Siemens.
Oxford Children’s Hospital patient Laura Thompson, front centre, with winners and sponsors from last year’s OX5 run
Picture: OX58572 Andrew Walmsley
The top fundraisers were:
- Spiderboy Joshua Team, captained by Amber Baker – who raised £6,000
- The A Team captained by Sam Bickersteth – £4,000
- Team Keymer, above, captained by Gareth Keymer – £2,342
- Team Univ captained by Teresa Strike – £2,055
- The Harley-Davidson Harriers captained by Sara Butler – £1,990
- The top individual was Charles Jamieson – £1,692