A 29-YEAR-OLD woman whose firefighter husband lost his battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in August is teaming up with her sisters to run the London Marathon 2020 for the Anthony Nolan charity.

Emma Smith, whose husband Scott died around 18 months after being diagnosed with the blood cancer, will team up with sisters Hannah and Charlie to take on the marathon challenge.

The trio call themselves the ‘Hope Runners’ as they aim to give hope to other people like Scott, who died before he was able to have a stem cell transplant.

Emma, of Colne, said just over two years ago, Scott found a lump on his neck. Due to his dad having recently died from prostate cancer, he was acutely aware of his health and went straight to see his GP

Emma said: “His GP said it wasn’t anything serious. Scott wasn’t happy so he went back again and saw the practice manager who told him to come back in six weeks if the lump hadn’t gone.”

After returning to his GP six weeks later, Scott was referred to hospital for tests which revealed he had Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Emma said: “We were told that if you get cancer, this is the one you want to get as it’s so curable and easy to treat. Six months of chemotherapy and then you should be fine.

"We really thought everything was going to be OK, but things didn’t work out that way.”

A few days after receiving his diagnosis, Scott started chemotherapy and radiotherapy. However, he didn’t respond to treatment as doctors had hoped, which is when the possibility of a stem cell transplant was first mentioned.

Emma said: “We were told if chemo works, he will need a transplant. That was the dream, a transplant. The chance of a cure.”

Emma and Scott got engaged in 2017 and had their wedding booked for April 2019. Due to Scott’s diagnosis, they took the decision to cancel the wedding, as they thought Scott would be too ill to go ahead with the day.

Emma said: “However when we were sat in the hospital one day, we decided to get married. We were madly in love and best friends, we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. Just six weeks later we got married surrounded by our closest friends and family, it was a magical day filled with love and laughter.”

Shortly after their wedding, Scott developed a hole between his oesophagus and bronchial tube, which was caused by the cancer and worsened by the radiotherapy he was having. This resulted in fluid directly entering his lungs and he developed pneumonia.

Emma said: “We were told that we had two options, stop the radiotherapy and give Scott end of life care or they could attempt to reconstruct Scott’s airways, but we were told that he could be in hospital for up to two years and chances are he won’t survive. So, they gave us two choices but really there was only one.”

In April, Scott stopped all treatment and Emma stopped work to care for him. Charlie, Hannah and the rest of their close family and friends rallied around both her and Scott.

Before Scott died in August, aged just 30, Emma talked to him about doing the London Marathon and after asking Hannah and Charlie if they would be up for the challenge, the three of them signed up together.

Emma said: “Running has really helped me cope since Scott’s death. We’ve set ourselves a big goal for fundraising and training to give us something amazing and positive to focus on in what we know will be the hardest year.

“We’ve seen each other through the darkest of times so if we can get through that together, we can get through a marathon.”

As part of their fundraising efforts, the sisters organised the Hope Ball at The Craiglands in Ilkley, earlier this month, and was attended by around 250 people.

Anna Scalera, of Anthony Nolan, said: “The funds they raise will enable us to recruit more potential stem cell donors – any one of whom could give a second chance of life for someone with blood cancer.”

To sponsor The Hope Runners visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/hoperunners

To find out more about Anthony Nolan, or to take part in your own challenge event, visit www.anthonynolan.org/events