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Marathon run after brother's emergency treatment

 Phoebe is running the Southampton marathon to raise money for Southampton Hospital Charity after her brother received life saving treatment.

 “It’s mind over matter and worth all the pain.” That, is some mantra and motivation to have. 

Off goes the alarm, just before 5am.

Running shoes. Check. iPod. Check. Watch. Set.

Straight out the door and into the fresh winter cold.

Those first few strides are never easy - and never will be. 

In fact, many people thought, and probably still think, Phoebe Wilson is crazy - in the best possible meaning of the word - to make them. 

The thing is, when you have a reason to run as heart-warming as the 25-year-old does, getting up and doing mile after mile in preparation for your first-ever marathon - May's ABP Southampton Marathon - justifies both the physical and mental exertion. 

Reuben and PhoebeLast year, Phoebe and her family’s life changed forever. 

Her younger brother, Reuben - had, for a while, been suffering with slight headaches. But, on June 20th, he unfortunately took a turn for the worse. 

After leaving work with a headache complaint, his condition deteriorated rapidly during the 10-minute walk home. Reuben passed out several times but thankfully, despite his worsening state, managed to call his older brother, Joel - who quickly realised the severity of the situation, left work and stayed on the phone with his sibling until he could make his way to his side. 

His intervention, most probably, saved Reuben's life. 

Immediately, he was transferred to Southampton General Hospital for treatment and diagnosed with arteriovenous malformation (AVM) - a type of stroke - which occurs when weakened blood vessels rupture; and as a result can lead to bleeding on the brain. 

Little did Reuben and his family know, he was born with this defect. Life-threatening surgery followed, and after eight hours, the surgery was a success, with the AVM being removed.  

Post-surgery, Reuben's recovery has of course been long and difficult - and continues to be - but that has not affected his spirit and gratefulness for the incredible work the hospital staff do, particularly in the neurology department, in Southampton. 

Now, Reuben's hope is that his story can raise awareness and promote the importance of regular health checks and spotting early symptoms, as well as appreciating every single moment in life.

And, certainly, it goes without saying - that his sister Phoebe is doing everything she can to help and champion those ambitions.

Last October, she decided to sign up for the ABP Southampton Marathon and fundraise for  Southampton Hospital Charity - an official charity partner of the event, having witnessed first-hand the world-class care given to Reuben.

"I feel blessed that I can still text my brother and see him. Embarking on my first marathon journey is completely worth it, knowing that my brother is still here and I'm not running in memory of him," Phoebe told the ABP Southampton Marathon website.

"He's going to be at the finish line and that will be incredibly special to spur me on.

“It’s been a journey and whirlwind for all of us really but signing up for the marathon was the least I could do. I didn't tell anyone until after I did it.”

Phoebe, who by her own admission is no natural athlete and shocked everyone after revealing her marathon news, has relished the challenge and everything that has come with it.

Training-wise and with the help of her Auntie’s husband - himself a seasoned marathoner - a training plan was soon constructed. Nevertheless, following that to a tee hasn’t been easy and will be tough going in the coming months.

Indeed, the juggling act of a full-time job, a busy family life and looking after dog Betsy - who often joins Phoebe on her runs - as well as owning a horse - are all factors which need due care and attention.

She added: "I've really had to immerse myself into it and pull out all of the stops.

"I've come home a couple of times from my training runs and said to my partner: 'I don't think I'm going to be able to do this'. I have really struggled at times and faced other difficulties. I suffer with neuralgia and that makes running difficult in itself.

"But, overall, the training process so far has completely changed my daily life and the dream is to get to the finish line."

Remarkably, Phoebe is already well over halfway towards the finishing line in terms of her fundraising target - and would of course be extremely grateful for any additional support 

We all look forward to seeing you cross the finish line!

By Stuart Appleby - Twitter: @Stuart_Appleby

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