Carlo van Leeuwen
Dutch, living in Southampton since 2003.
In June 2011 I got a phone call from my Dad in the Netherlands. He had just been told he had MND. That explained the slurred speech and weakness in hands. He passed away in April 2012 after opting for the legal assisted suicide law over there.
After the funeral I was so lost, I had to do something in his memory. It was then I made the decision to run the Great South Run in his memory. I had never done a run before, but it certainly helped me to come to terms with the way MND took him away from us.
To make it more of a challenge I decided on fancy dress. When he started to lose his voice, he used his lightwriter to help him talk. When he called out my daughter’s name, the voice she thought was that of the Cookie Monster. I now run the Great South Run every year as Cookie Monster and will continue to do so until there’s a cure.
People often ask me why I run…because I can.