THE mother of a teenager who died of complications from swine flu will be running the Oxford Half Marathon in his memory.
Dr Rose Todd will be raising funds for two charities, including the hospice that cared for her son Harry in his final days.
Harry – who had Down’s syndrome – died from heart failure at Douglas House, Oxford, in January after contracting swine flu in 2010.
The 18-year-old had an underlying heart condition but a vaccine had yet to reach GPs for at-risk patients like him, Dr Todd said.
The mum-of-two said: “Harry received some fantastic support during the last few years of his life. It is touching that people can be so very kind.”
Earlier this month a fundraising event was held in Harry’s memory for the special needs charity KEEN, which included horse rides, a bouncy castle and rounders.
The September 1 event at RAF Upper Heyford Sports Arena, Bicester raised about £400 for Helen & Douglas House hospice.
Now Steeple Aston resident Dr Todd is to run the Oxford Half Marathon on Sunday, October 14, for both charities.
The swine flu alert began in April 2009 and vaccines became available in the UK later that year.
But Harry had still not had the jab when he fell ill and was rushed to hospital in April 2010.
Dr Todd, 56, said: “He and I had flu jabs but, sadly, the way they distributed the vaccine, they didn’t get it out quickly enough in the villages in north Oxfordshire.
“I felt very frustrated. I felt that despite all the information you get on the radio and television, they didn’t seem to be following it through with actual process.”
Youngest daughter Flora, now 15, was accepted for a vaccine trial at the John Radcliffe Hospital but Harry was too old to fit its criteria.
The teenager was “a chap who grabbed life with both hands, he lived life to the full” she said.
Dr Todd, a council conservation officer, said: “He had an amazing capacity to make you feel special. He was a real people’s person. It is a shame that more of us aren’t like Harry.”
Douglas House, in Magdalen Road, cared for Harry for 21 nights last year, to provide respite for his family, and provided medical care as he developed renal failure.
To sponsor Dr Todd for her half marathon visit justgiving.com/Rose-Todd1 and justgiving.com/Rose-Todd2