lifestyle

Woman runs six marathons in six days after losing little brother to suicide – and older brother tried to take his own life


Fred (left) died by suicide in 2019, Jack (right) attempted to take his own life in 2017 (Picture: Ella Rothwell)

Ella Rothwell’s life was blown apart when her brother Fred died by suicide in April 2019.

The crushing news caused ‘indescribable pain’ for the 28-year-old, especially as it happened just two years after her older brother Jack had also attempted to take his own life.

‘My whole world went black,’ Ella tells Metro.co.uk.

‘Anyone who has lost someone to suicide will know the feeling of complete helplessness, confusion, and indescribable pain that you experience. There had been no signs, no red flags that warned us this might happen. We never saw it coming.

‘Like so many who lose loved ones to suicide, I will always wonder if there was anything I could have done, any signs I should have spotted.’  

On 13 April 2019, Ella’s cousin arrived at the restaurant she was working at midway through her shift.

‘I’ll never forget the expression on his face, it was terrifying,’ she says.

‘He thought I already knew and was just coming to pick me up and take me back to Bristol but sadly he had to be the one to tell me that Fred had died.’

‘My brothers have been my best friends throughout my life’ (Picture: Ella Rothwell)

Suicide rates in England have risen by 17% in the past 10 years, with 94 people taking their own life every week.

Men are still disproportionately affected, with 75% of all suicides being male. This is something that Ella sadly knows too much about.

Two years before the tragic death of her younger brother, in February 2017, her older brother Jack also attempted to take his own life, and he very nearly died.

At the time, Ella had started working in London, but she had gone home to Bristol to visit family for the weekend.

‘As soon as I opened the door, I saw a very blurry eyed Mum and Dad who sat me down and told me that Jack was currently in a coma in ITU after attempting to take his own life,’ Ella recall. ‘It was crushing.’

Her younger brother Fred flew home from his work overseas as soon as he heard. For the following week, the four of them sat at Jack’s bedside in hospital nervously waiting to see if he would wake up.

Ella with her little brother Fred (Picture: Ella Rothwell)

‘There had been signs with Jack,’ says Ella. ‘He had been struggling with his mental health, insomnia and being away from home and when he’d come back from working abroad it felt like we’d tried to wrap him up in bubble wrap to keep him safe as a family.’  

Thankfully, Jack survived. Ella and Fred were able to support him throughout his recovery.

‘Jack worked so incredibly hard, and with the support of a local mental health rehabilitation unit in Bristol was able to get the help he needed to start his long and brave journey to recovery,’ says Ella.

‘Life slowly started to feel like it was getting back on track. Jack got a new girlfriend, and they started a handmade jewellery business together, and Fred moved back to Bristol to start a new job after living on my sofa in London for a few months. Everything was starting to feel happy again.’

‘Life will never be the same without our beautiful Fred’ (Picture: Ella Rothwell)

Less than two years later, this happy picture would be shattered, and Ella and her family would have to pick themselves up following Fred’s unexpected suicide.

In the aftermath of such heartbreak, Ella bravely decided to do all she could to help others who may be struggling with their mental health, or feel like there is no way out.

‘I want to do anything I can to fight for all those who are feeling lost,’ she says.

So, she undertook the epic challenge of running 157 miles, from Soho square in London to the suspension Bridge in Bristol – which amounts to six marathons – in just six days, to raise money for mental health charity CALM.

She more than smashed her initial target of raising £5,000, and her current total is an impressive £30,000. There’s still time to donate on Ella’s Just Giving page.

She says crossing the final finish line was a huge ‘mixture of emotions’.

‘Running has been a huge part of my grieving and healing process’ (Picture: Rodney Allsop)

‘I was surrounded by all my closest family and friends so the support was amazing,’ she says.

‘I’ve been training and working towards this run since January, so knowing it was all finally done, the fundraising target had been well and truly hit and I had done it for Fred made me feel immensely proud.’

The hardest part of the challenge for Ella was navigating the pain.

‘I hurt in places I didn’t even know existed, so I really tired to focus on my recovery for the next day,’ she says.

‘That and the logistics of making sure I could be met and followed by my support vehicle, and eating enough to keep me going.’

During the toughest moments, Ella didn’t have to dig very deep to find the inspiration to keep going.

‘I hurt in places I didn’t even know existed’ (Picture: Ella Rothwell)

‘I just tried to remind myself why I was doing it, who I was doing it for and the difference the fundraising will make,’ she says.

‘I also had my mum along for the ride which was a huge emotional support for me. She kept me fed, blister plastered and sane.’

Since losing her brother, Ella says her biggest motivation is making him proud.

‘Running has been a huge part of my grieving and healing process, especially as we went into the first lockdown less than a year after losing him,’ she says.

Ella and Jack at the finish line. (Picture: Jack Skelton)

‘Running has made me push myself, but has also given me the space I needed to process things. I wanted to use something that had such a positive impact on my life to try to create positive impacts on other peoples lives.

‘My brothers have been my best friends throughout my life. There’s just no bond that can come close to what you have with your siblings, it’s like this giant invisible hug that’s with you constantly, keeping you safe and never letting you feel alone. This has always been the case, ever since we were little. 

‘Life will never be the same without our beautiful Fred. He lit up any room he entered and when he died, a little part of me went with him.

‘Please check in on your favourite people, your loved ones, your mate who has been a little quiet recently and please be brave enough to ask the harder questions and start the conversations.

‘To anyone who is struggling with their mental health just remember you are loved, you are special and there is always hope.’

Do you have a story to share?

Get in touch by emailing MetroLifestyleTeam@Metro.co.uk.


MORE : Mum with rare eye condition gets glasses that let her see baby daughter clearly for the first time


MORE : Delayed and desperate: People are getting into debt to pay for private healthcare as NHS waiting lists skyrocket


MORE : People ‘regret donating’ to TikTok family after house burned down as dad rides around on jet ski





READ SOURCE

Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.  Learn more