Couple to take on challenge in baby's memory

Rory with a bandage around his head being held by mum Amy
Rory was just seven months old when he died [Hall family]

Intensive care is not the place Amy and Matt Hall had envisaged spending their first Christmas with their baby Rory.

The boy, who was just six months old at the time, had become very unwell due to the strong chemotherapy he was undergoing to treat a brain tumour.

And their worst fears became reality when just a month later, in January 2020, Rory closed his eyes for the final time.

Mr and Mrs Hall, from Keswick, Cumbria, have already raised nearly £67,000 for different charities in his memory and they are about to undertake their toughest challenge yet to ensure that no family has to go through what they lived.

Mrs Hall, 31, said: "There are no words to describe [losing your child], we're still devastated.

"The grief changes across the years, but it's still there.

"He was a very calm baby, he was more relaxed than us about it all, but on Christmas day - especially because it was our baby's first Christmas - to see him struggling to breath was awful."

Matt and Amy with Rory in a park
Amy and Matt Hall will be joined by Matt's brother Jim in undertaking the Lakesman Triathlon relay [Hall family]

Their ordeal started when they noticed a squint in Rory's eye when he was four months old and took him to the GP.

Despite not suspecting anything sinister, the doctor referred him to an eye specialist in Bristol, where they lived at the time.

It was at this point it was confirmed Rory, a healthy baby up until that point, had medulloblastoma - a type of brain tumour.

Mrs Hall said at his sickest Rory was unconscious for a lot of the time, but she hoped that feeling his parents' constant presence would have made him feel there was love around him.

"We felt there had to be some positive we could pull out of this tragedy," she said.

"It was his treatment that killed him, but because he was so young and these types of cancers are thankfully so rare, there aren't many treatment options available because there is no research."

Matt and Rory on top of Latrigg fell
Baby Rory underwent two rounds of chemotherapy before his death [Hall family]

Since Rory's death, the Halls have raised money for several charities supporting children with cancer and their families.

On Sunday, they will undertake what Mrs Hall calls their most physically challenging endeavour to date to raise money for the Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group, which funds research projects into the type of cancer Rory suffered from.

The couple will be joined by Mr Hall's brother Jim and together they hope to complete the Lakesman Triathlon relay around Keswick, with Jim taking on the 1.2 mile (1.9 km) swim, Mr Hall cycling 56 miles (90 km) and Mrs Hall taking on the running part of the challenge, with a 13.1 mile (21km) route.

Mrs Hall said: "It's definitely going to be a challenge - I'm not feeling as prepared as I'd like to.

"Me and Matt aren't sporty people, Jim is sporty and he decided we should do it."

The couple, who moved back to Cumbria after losing Rory, have since had two more children - Finn, who is three-and-a-half years old and Elara, one.

"It's been hard to get the training in, juggling having two young children, but we really hope that the atmosphere and the thought of what we're funding are going to get us through it," Mrs Hall said.

The family have already raised £3,500 for this latest challenge through their JustGiving page.

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