A team of 30 friends and family are preparing to run this year’s Robin Hood Half Marathon in memory of 32 year old Suzie Donnelly, who died earlier this year from cancer.

The team is headed up by Suzie’s husband, Jack, and best friend Alex Morley, 33yrs from Bingham, and they are aiming to raise £10,000 for local charity Treetops Hospice Care who provided care for Suzie.

Suzie was my amazing wife, she was so special, sweet and kind

Jack, 32yrs, from Long Eaton works for Barratt Homes. He explained more:

“Suzie started getting poorly at the end of last September. Ten years before she had had cancer and had been going for regular check-ups at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield and getting the all clear. But it transpired that that cancer had come back and spread to other parts of her body.

“Everything happened so quickly. In December, we were told it was terminal and she sadly passed away three weeks later.

“We’d been to a lot of friends’ weddings and people’s parties in August when we didn’t know Suzie was so poorly, so the last time a lot of people saw her was when she was at her best and full of life.

“Suzie was my amazing wife, she was so special, sweet and kind. We were married and planning our future, that’s one of the saddest parts of it. To be told that gut-wrenching news that the cancer had returned, it was the cruellest and saddest thing I’ve ever had to deal with. For the family, losing Suzie has been completely heart breaking”.

Treetops, based in Risley, provides nursing care and emotional support for adults with life limiting conditions living in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. The charity provided Suzie with complementary therapy at home.

The biggest smile we managed to get out of her all over Christmas

“The Treetops nurse who rang me was amazing and explained all the help they could offer. Suzie’s health had deteriorated so we didn’t want her to walk long distances. One of the therapists came and gave her a massage at home and that was the biggest smile we managed to get out of her all over Christmas – one of the last times I saw a genuine smile and for her to enjoy something.

“I knew a bit about Treetops before and what hospices did but we never thought we’d be in the situation where we’d use the services. But you need help when you’re dealing with what we had to deal with. Treetops offered more – for a Hospice at Home nurse to come and sit with her at night – but Suzie just didn’t have more time.

“I’ve never felt more helpless and more useless in my whole life, so for someone to ring me and tell me what they could do, it was really amazing and I was really grateful for that.


Treetops supports Jack with regular counselling and the Half Marathon, taking place on 30 September, is one of the ways in which he and his friends are remembering Suzie.

“I’m doing this purely because of what Treetops could do for Suzie and what they do for me.

“I’d done the Half Marathon in 2016, the year we got married, and I wanted to do it again and raise money for Treetops. I spoke to a few of Suzie’s mates and though they don’t run, they wanted to do it too.

“There’s about 30 of us doing it now – a mix of mine and Suzie’s friends, and their friends, and some work colleagues of mine. I put it out to anyone who wanted to do it and it just spread really. Our running vests hashtag is #runningforsuz

“Everyone is dealing with grief in the best way they can and by doing something like this, they can do it in Suzie’s memory which is what’s important as well as achieve a personal challenge.

“I speak for myself in how devastated I am and I think a lot of people still can’t believe it’s happened and at such a young age. You do feel a bit helpless about what you can do so maybe that’s why so many people are doing it.”

“We’ve been training and running together on a Tuesday night and even my friend, Joe Grimes, in New Zealand is doing a run – bizarrely in a town close to where he’s living, they’ve got a half marathon on the same day so he’s running that there.”


The hospice have given fantastic support to Jack and would have done so much more for Suz had more time been on her side

Alex Morley had been best friends with Suzie since they were teenagers:

“Having known Suz since we were 16, and living together when we were in our 20s, it was a massive shock when she was originally diagnosed with cancer in 2007. We were studying for our MA at the time at Nottingham Trent University and the strength and determination she showed was immense.

“When speaking to her one evening after her diagnosis in December, I was trying to make her laugh and suggested that I run the Robin Hood Half Marathon (having not run more than 100m in my life). She did indeed laugh and asked me to run in aid of Treetops so I hope she’s having a good chuckle to herself watching me on 30th September!

“Suz was the kindest, funniest and most caring person I have known and we are all devastated. She was my confident, my partner in crime, my best friend and I miss her more than anything.

“I know that the hospice have given fantastic support to Jack and would have done so much more for Suz had more time been on her side.”

The RunningforSuz team have a JustGiving fundraising page where people can make donations towards their run.

Treetops services include Support and Information, a Day Care Unit, Hospice at Home nurses and Therapeutic Services including counselling, art therapy and complementary therapy.