Dad runs half marathon in place of 29-year-old daughter who died by suicide: 'I'm carrying Sophie with me'

Andy Airey has raised more than $33,000 for suicide prevention. (Photo: Twitter/PAPYRUS_tweets)
Andy Airey has raised more than $33,000 for suicide prevention. (Photo: Twitter/PAPYRUS_tweets)

After Andy Airey’s 29-year-old daughter Sophie died by suicide, he decided to take her place in a half marathon. The British dad has raised more than $33,000 for suicide prevention while training for the 13-mile race.

Sophie was entered to run the Northumberland Half Marathon in the United Kingdom before she died on Dec. 19, as her father wrote on his fundraising page.

We are determined to bring something positive out of our terrible loss so we are raising funds for Papyrus-UK, the national charity dedicated to the prevention of young suicide,” he shared.

“For a half marathon I never intended to do, I really enjoyed it,” Airey told the BBC after the Saturday race. “When Sophie took her own life and this opportunity, shall we say, fell to me to take her place, it just seemed the right thing to do.”

He went on to explain that he thought about Sophie being with him the last couple of miles as he was pushing himself to finish.

“It should have been her [running] rather than me, which was hard,” he said. “She would’ve been very proud. I’m carrying Sophie with me. I have done right from the moment we found out she’d gone.”

A video posted after the run shows Airey enjoying a pint at a local pub wearing a Papyrus hoodie and thanking everyone who donated to the suicide prevention charity.

“We have already heard of two separate instances where friends, who only found out about Papyrus through our loss, have been able to help others who had family members suffering from suicidal thoughts,” he wrote on the page. “Keep spreading the word — help save lives.”

Sophie’s brother, Tim, and friend, Laura, also ran the half marathon with Airey, according to his fundraising page. Her husband, Sam, ran the full marathon.

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