A woman whose niece and nephew face being orphaned by disease has launched a major charity fund-raiser.
Clare Coulston and husband Paul face the prospect of making guardianship arrangements for their two young children Finlay, six and Evelyn, four, as they battle terminal illness.
Police sergeant Clare, 36, has been given a 30 per cent chance of survival after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of oesophageal cancer.
She has already undergone two cycles of chemotherapy and major surgery to remove half her oesphagus and part of her stomach.
Then in April this year, Paul, a deputy headteacher, was told he has motor neurone disease — a progressive muscle-wasting condition, which attacks the nerves in the brain and spinal cord. His life expectancy could be between three and five years.
Next month, Clare’s sister Elaine Hudson, from Catterall, will run her first marathon in the aim of raising £2,000 for a specialist medical bed and wet room for Paul.
Mum-of-one Elaine, 38, said: “They have both just been amazing – they do have dark days obviously but their efforts are all geared to keeping things as normal as possible for the children.
“They are such brave, inspiring and kind people and what is happening to them breaks my heart but they are just so postive. To be told one of you has an illness is difficult, but then when you get that second bombshell.”
The couple are determined to keep things as normal as possible for the children, but with Paul’s condition already deteriorating, family members are rallying round, organising a series of fund-raisers to help towards costs for adaptations to their home as his condition deteriorates.
Solicitor Elaine will take on the gruelling Liverpool Marathon on October 14, and has already raised around £950 for the cause.
She has already completed the Great North Run and previously taken part in a 10km charity run and a half marathon. She said: “I want to do anything I can to raise the money, and just help make life easier for Paul on a day-to-day basis.
“We are such a close family, and I want to make them as comfortable as I can.”
Friends are also planning to help pay for a special family holiday before Paul becomes too ill or immobile to travel.
Paul added: “We’re lucky in that we’ve got a really good support network of family and friends. “That’s everything – it’s what keeps you going day to day.”