British woman to run London Marathon in honor of ex-boyfriend

Danielle Epstein

Some people’s goal in their first marathon is just to finish, while others might choose to run to honor their ex-boyfriend whom they split up with because his cancer battle was taking a toll on their mental health, as reported by the Mirror. When Danielle Epstein of London’s former partner, Jelle Fresen, was diagnosed with a brain tumor in September 2022, she began to experience panic attacks, and her mental health took a nosedive. The pair ended up splitting up, and now Epstein is running Sunday’s London Marathon in her honor, raising funds for brain tumor research.

Before Fresen was tested, the couple was planning to buy a house in London when he started suffering dizzy spells and vomiting. After several tests and scans, he was diagnosed with grade 4 medulloblastoma and had to go through radiotherapy and chemotherapy, which resulted in him having to re-learn how to walk.

The physics teacher told the Mirror that she was so “worried” and “devastated” about Fresen that she was having trouble sleeping and eating.“I felt like the most awful person, leaving somebody because they have cancer, but it was damaging my mental health, and it wasn’ t helping Jelle,” said Epstein.

Danielle Epstein
London’s Danielle Epstein will attempt her first marathon in honor of her ex-boyfriend on Sunday, April 23. Photo: JustGiving

Epstein ended up moving to Thailand with her dad, but has stayed friends with Fresen, who will cheer and watch her run the marathon on Sunday.

“When she said she was going to run a marathon, I had my doubts,” Fresen told, according to Mirror. “I think she did a 5K when we were together, and that was with a lot of complaining.”

The former couple are trying to work on a friendship. “I’m not a runner, but Jelle has done marathons before, so I thought it would be a challenge for me and a nice tribute to him, and it felt like something to aim toward,” she said.

she told Mirror that the training for the 2023 London Marathon has been exhausting, but that it was a small sacrifice compared to what Fresen has been through. “I have the best motivation; if Jelle can go through all of this then I can run a marathon,” Epstein said.

Epstein started a fundraising page with the goal of collecting $12,500 for brain tumor research.

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