My 21 Year Old Twin Sister Got A Cough, One Week Later She Died. Now I’m Running In Her Memory
When Courtney Franklin is on the start-line of the Wizz Air Cardiff Half Marathon, there will only be one person on her mind.
In February 2020, her twin sister, Chloe, developed a cough and was struggling to breathe. After visiting the GP, she was referred straight to Llandough Hospital where, after being admitted, she underwent tests and was started on a course of antibiotics. The following day, as her condition was not improving, she was transferred to the intensive care unit at University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff and three days later was placed in an induced coma:
“She had a severe infection in her lungs and the doctors said the induced coma would give her lungs a break and allow her to heal. As the week progressed, they thought it was working and started to bring her off sedation. Unfortunately, she then developed sepsis and later had a massive stroke, which was so severe that the Neurosurgeons could not operate. We were told she was brain dead and there was nothing more they could do. This all happened in just a week.”
Courtney – who is from Llandaff North in Cardiff – said:
“Chloe had struggled with poor mental health but was due to start a new job as a receptionist. She really wanted to be a children’s nurse. In fact, she has inspired me to train and I start university in September.”
“We were joined at the hip and did everything together. She was my best friend and the one person I never imagined not being here. Every summer, when we were kids, we’d go on PGL holidays together and made so many memories on brilliant adventures. It’s hard to accept she isn’t here anymore. Unless you have a twin – and we were identical – it’s hard to understand that friendship. It’s a bond like no other. She was the same as me – we had the same hobbies, we looked the same. To lose that after 21 years is a very lonely thing to go through.”
During lockdown, after Chloe had died, Courtney drove her energies into running:
“I ran a 100K in less than three weeks and I wanted more of a challenge so I signed up to the Cardiff Half. I have injured my knee during training but I’ll crawl it if I have to.”
Courtney is running in aid of 2wish which provides support for those affected by the sudden death of a young person.
“They really helped us with the loss of my sister. They created memory boxes for each of us – my Mum and Dad, my younger brother and me. Inside, they had put an elephant, a lock of her hair, a print of her hand, a trace of her heartbeat, a candle and a poem.”
“It was such a thoughtful touch at the worst time of our lives. It was incredibly special – everything was so delicate and heavenly. I’m running for 2wish so that other families receive the support we did.”
The race is on track to generate its £20 millionth pound in fundraising at the 19th edition of the event this year. Race organisers are urging the public to get behind the event to help it reach this incredible milestone. Over £3 million is raised each year via partnerships with over 90 charities.
The race sold out earlier this summer, just three and a half months after going on sale.
It will be the second time the Cardiff Half has descended on the Welsh capital in 2022, after the postponed 2020 race took place in March. And it will be the first time it has been held on its traditional autumn date in three years, following the COVID-19 pandemic.
The race sold out earlier this summer, just three and half months after entries went on sale. Entries are still available however via official charities until the registration deadline on Friday 2 September.
A record number of runners from outside Wales (both across the UK and overseas) are registered to take part this year. To celebrate, organisers will be using the event as a platform to celebrate Wales; showcasing everything that is so special and distinct about Cymru and to offer visitors a warm Welsh Welcome.
Adding to the event’s international appeal, it is now a part of the SuperHalfs – an international half marathon series including races in Lisbon, Prague, Valencia, Copenhagen and Cardiff. It challenges runners to complete the five race circuit in 36 months in order to earn a ‘SuperMedal’ and other exclusive prizes.
You can donate to Courtney’s JustGiving page at https://gofund.me/a26d5cb9
Find out more about the event at cardiffhalfmarathon.co.uk