Running in Memory of Tom

Running in Memory of Tom

For the past few months, NHS Forth Valley Consultant Clinical Psychologist Dr Sally Rankine and her son, Alex, have been struggling to spend time with her husband, Sean, who is to training for a gruelling 150 mile race in memory of their tiny son Tom, to raise money for the Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS).

Tom, Alex’s twin, had Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Type I which was not diagnosed until he was 9 months old.  Prior to that it was believed his lack of movement was likely due to the dreadful reflux which he had. It was then thought he was suffering from another neuromuscular condition where he might not walk but would live. The couple were finally told at 9 months it was SMA and Tom went rapidly downhill, requiring tube feeding, oxygen and morphine. They lost him at 13 months.

Sean, who ran the Inverness Marathon in October 2012, and raised £2440 for CHAS, now wants to go the extra mile (or 124 miles) and is planning to run 150 miles across the Moroccan Sahara in the Marathon Des Sables, ranked by the Discovery Channel as the toughest footrace on earth, in April 2015

Sally explained: “Sean has been training for this since last summer and sometimes it feels like Alex and I hardly him. He trains on hills using heavy weights at least one whole day every weekend. In addition, he either gets up and leaves before anyone else in the house to go to an exercise class before work or gets home late because he goes to a class after work. He is leaving the running training till nearer the time as he has arthritis in his knee so trying to minimise the damage!

“You don’t realise the value of a children’s hospice until you need one.  They provide respite care for families caring for incredibly sick children as well as providing an environment which is stimulating and wonderful for the children themselves.  The staff  there are amazing and there is nothing that is too much trouble for them.  Being at Robin House allowed us to take Tom and Alex swimming together – something we could not have done in a community pool – which was amazing for the whole family.  There was also a room which was full of visual stimulation for Tom which he loved as he was unable to move.”

The couple, who have set themselves a target of £10,000, have paid the £4,000 trip themselves, which includes repatriating the cost of your body if you die doing it!  This means that all money raised goes directly to CHAS. For more details visit

Spring 2015 Our People