Stacey Black’s gran lived through a lot. As well as moving to South Africa in the 1960s and outliving three husbands she also had multiple sclerosis and cancer. Even when, at 77 years old, she faced having her legs amputated she held on to her positive outlook.
As Stacey said, “I know she would still be running around in her garden if she could and even after her second amputation, on her deathbed five days before she passed, she still said to me she’s sad she wouldn’t be able to do her exercises as she didn’t have any upper strength left. What an inspiration to give life everything, as much as you can!”
As Stacey grew up her gran was always an important part of her life. Her determination and positivity have definitely been passed on to Stacey and her life was a huge inspiration, so perhaps it’s best to let Stacey tell the rest of the story in her own words…
“She just wanted to get up and keep moving. The first operation due to loss of circulation in her left leg went well but six months later she was back in hospital for her right leg to be amputated too.
“Sadly she had to go through the second amputation just under local anaesthetic. Her decision post-surgery was to not be treated for the cancer and just to go and rest peacefully at home for her final days.
“She knew she had to just let go of her life here and we heard her talking at night to different friends and family that had passed previously. It really was incredible to know she was going peacefully and preparing herself for the ultimate reunion of spirits.
“I was fortunate enough to have travelled to South Africa to see her in her final weeks – she passed away three days after I left.
“I knew I had to do something for her and for me too. I wanted to exercise more, so I looked for an opportunity to take part in a run.
“Although my gran always chose the bright side of life, she could have used some extra help. I decided to fundraise for the MS International Federation because they can improve quality of life for people with MS anywhere in the world.
“I ran in order to feel my gran, be nearer to her. I want to stay positive, because that’s all she ever was.
“Thank you to anyone who donated or supported me in the run-up to the event in some way. You helped me see the half marathon through, be exhausted on completing 13.1 miles but ultimately, ecstatic at having achieved my biggest and most important challenge/goal for this year… something personal for the most special person I have ever known.
“I know I am nowhere near as happy without her as I should be, but its work in progress and I am positive I will feel her more and more in the strength I gain mentally, physically and spiritually from my new goals, new lifestyle and new beginnings… watch this space.
“I’m glad I could play a small part for the MS International Federation and hope this influences others to make small differences in their lives too, as it’s the small differences that will impact lives in bigger ways than imaginable.
“Anyway, I have to go for a run now…”