WHEN local man Trevor McQuoid’s wife Victoria (Crone) died suddenly of a brain haemorrhage just over a year ago at the age of 45, he was left feeling numb and unable to comprehend the tragedy that had unfolded.
“It just all felt so unreal,” he said, “Four weeks earlier Victoria had celebrated her birthday and we were full of plans for the future. On the day she took ill, she had gone to work as normal but had to come home early as she had a bad headache.
“She passed out in the house and was taken to Craigavon Area Hospital and then on to the Royal in Belfast. She had suffered a brain haemorrhage.”
Two days later Victoria had a heart attack and after a further two days on a life support machine, Trevor had to take the agonising decision to allow it to be switched off.
The couple, who lived on the Clare Road, near Gilford, had no children and although Trevor had the support of family and friends he felt “alone and hopeless”.
It was one of his friends who put him in contact with Cruse Bereavement Care in Belfast and he attributes the support of the organisation to pulling him through one of the darkest periods of his life.
And this is why, this Bank Holiday Monday, Trevor and a group of friends will be running in two relays team in the Belfast Marathon to raise money for the charity.
Said Trevor, “I started going to the Sculpt Fitness in Portadown with my friend Paul Cranston in October. It was really a focus to get me out of the house and through the winter. I decided back then I was going to do the marathon, even though I had always been more of an armchair sports person.”
Laurelvale man Paul (36), who is hoping to take advantage of the three stone he recently lost as a member of the Tandragee branch of Slimming World, has been attending the gym along with Trevor and three other friends who will also be doing the marathon for Cruse Bereavement.
They are Sean Lyness, Alan Gorman and Peter Mein, from Lurgan. Karen McClure, originally from Portadown but now living in Dublin, will also be on the relay team.
For most of them, as for Trevor himself, Monday will be their first experience of running a marathon, and they are united in their common goal of rasing money for the bereavement charity.
Said Trevor, “I initially had a one-to one-counselling session for eight weeks, and then I had another four weeks after that. After Victoria’s death I felt very hopeless. My future had disappeared. Talking to someone, who isn’t a friend or family member, helps sort things out in your mind.
““You can tell a counsellor things you wouldn’t tell someone close to you and you become aware of other opportunities for yourself. Now, I would like to give something back to Cruse, because they are not as highly publicised as some other charities.”
Trevor, who has been running around the lakes at Craigavon as part of his pre-marathon training, will be doing “the glory run” - the final 4.3 stretch of the marathon. He has also discovered that running has helped with sleep problems and has provided a new routine for him, which is important as he builds a life without Victoria.
He takes some comfort in the fact that, as an organ donor, a number of people benefited from his wife’s death. He also donated the money Victoria would have spent on Christmas presents to Cruse.
Debi Madden, area co-ordinator for Cruse Bereavement Care, said, “Cruse Belfast is very grateful for the effort of this group in raising funds for our services in Belfast. Each year we struggle to meet costs to continue to provide our services and any donation, no matter how small, really does make a difference to our work.”
Cruse has been operating in Northern Ireland since 1984 and has eight branches located throughout the province, with Cruse Belfast seeing around 1,200 people each year. The average cost of supporting one bereaved person is £167.
Anyone who wishes to contribute to the men’s marathon fundraising can do so via justgiving.com/Trevor-McQuoid.