Monday 20th April 2015

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Read below why just some of the team chose to run for us. Your help can get Mark, Ellie, Jane, James and Martyn across the finish line and raise even more to support the young people with cancer around the country who really need our support.

It always struck me just how difficult it was to deal with something like this at a huge time in your life

Mark

As a former patient myself on one of Teenage Cancer Trust's specialist units within University College Hospital in London, I’ve always said "Teenage Cancer Trust is the only charity I'd want to run for". I was diagnosed in 2005 with non-Hodgkins lymphoma (a rare form that attached to my knee), and without the help and support of the charity, my treatment wouldn't have been as comfortable as it was. It was like a dream come true when I got the email offering me a place to run the marathon on behalf of the charity whom I feel I owe so much to. I don't want to sound cliché by saying it means everything to me, but as I said, it's the only charity I'd have run for. The work that it does to promote cancer amongst young people is amazing - anything I can do to help that is exciting.

This is the first time I've ever attempted anything like this! In recent years I've seen my uncle; both sisters (one for Teenage Cancer Trust) and cousin run the London Marathon – now it’s my turn.

So far my training has been going well. I'm making good pace to complete in my target time (around 4:30 / 4:45). I've come a long way, my first training run took place on 9 December, a 2.4 mile run round the block. Now my weekend long runs are up to 20 miles - I'm happy to be tapering now! I ran a half marathon in Warwick in March which was good preparation for race day in London, completing the 13.1 mile course in 1:59.

My fundraising is so far going well. I've set up a couple of things at work and socially -  a quiz at my local pub, a sweepstake for people to guess how many steps I'll take on the day and an honesty box (which I've filled with treats for colleagues to 'pay what they want'). 

Ellie

I am running Virgin London Marathon 2015 in memory of a remarkable young woman, Millie McLean, who sadly died last year aged 16. The McLeans are family friends (‘plastic family’ as we call each other, a non-blood network of families which stems from a group of women who were best friends and brought their children up together). Millie was the same age as my daughter when she died so running in Millie’s name has extra resonance for me. 

I'm a keen runner and member of local club Portobello RC. This will be my 5th marathon but I have never used my running to raise money as it’s something I do a lot of. This year I was lucky enough to gain a Good for Age automatic place at the Virgin London Marathon due to my 3.48 time at the Edinburgh marathon.

The Virgin London Marathon is a big stage with lots of eyes on you so it seemed like a great opportunity to wear the Teenage Cancer Trust vest and raise awareness as well as funds.

Training is going pretty well. I’m up to about 50 miles per week and hoping for a Virgin London Marathon personal best. My benchmark was Alloa half marathon last week where I got a personal best by over a minute at 1.43.01. I’ve had an achilles tendon niggle but that seems under control now. I'm determined to do this well for Millie!

I’ve just set up my JustGiving page and started fundraising and donations starting to come in. Now injuries and training are under control it’s time to start raising some cash!

Jane

I have been inspired by my son Stephen Sutton who was originally diagnosed with cancer when he was 15 years old. I made a promise that I would run the London Marathon for him and in doing so would raise funds for Teenage Cancer Trust – the charity that was so close to his heart as it had helped him greatly throughout his cancer journey.

Stephen was a keen runner himself – he participated in cross country and tracks events for both school and at county level. Despite being diagnosed with cancer he continued to run and was determined to run a marathon himself.

However, this was not to be as the cancer became more aggressive and spread to other parts of his body and in January 2013, Stephen was told his cancer was incurable.

Knowing that Stephen was unable to fulfil his dream, his best friend Chris Bullock ran the London Marathon for Stephen last year and myself and Stephen went down to London to watch him. It was here, after witnessing the incredible atmosphere and seeing the other runners that I made the promise that I would do the same.

So I’m doing this to keep my promise and also to continue the fundraising for Teenage Cancer Trust that Stephen was so passionate about.

Life is for living; don’t be afraid to try out new experiences. Challenge yourself and push your boundaries.

It’s a great opportunity to raise funds for a good cause at the same time as enjoying yourself (although I’m not quite sure yet if I am enjoying myself !). One of Stephen’s motto’s is the best way to help yourself is to help others.

Hopefully I can continue Stephen’s legacy which was: We can do it. We can raise that money. We all can inspire others to give and we can all make a difference. In addition, it would be fantastic if I could inspire others to decide to run a marathon.

I’ve experienced first-hand the difference Teenage Cancer Trust makes and services provided not only to the young person who has cancer but also to the whole family.

Teenage Cancer Trust is a charity that was very close to Stephen’s heart and which helped him greatly throughout his cancer journey. He was passionate about supporting this charity that helped him understand ‘he may have had cancer but cancer did not have him’. It gave him the confidence to speak so candidly and at times bluntly about his cancer. 

Every day 7 young people aged between 13 and 24 are diagnosed with cancer. You never think that your child will be one of those seven.

The furthest I have ever managed to run before is 3 miles in The Race for Life events. I am not a runner and the few times I attempted to run previously were not a particularly enjoyable experience. I much preferred Zumba, Step or Aerobic classes and I certainly wasn’t someone who went to the gym but my training is going surprisingly well! Training has been hard work and is a big time commitment but it will be a real sense of achievement to be one of the people to complete the 26 mile course.

I know that my pace is slow but I haven’t put any pressure on myself with regards to finishing in a certain time. I want to complete the course, run as much of it as possible, soak up the atmosphere, enjoy the experience and hopefully be able to walk the next day!

 

James

Around 4 years ago I was told that my teenage cousin Ruby had been diagnosed with Leukemia. She was heading towards her exams at school and really big times in a teenagers life. It hit me hard and was a complete shock but I could not imagine how hard it was for her, her parents and sisters.

I saw Ruby at different times through her treatment and recovery and it always struck me just how difficult it was to deal with something like this at a huge time in your life, the time when you are allowed to experience things for the first time and when your friends are going through huge changes in life. So for this to come along in those teenage years seemed particularly hard. From then on I have always tried to support and raise funds for charities focused on those dealing with cancer in all of its forms. 

As well as that, around 3 years ago I went on a journey losing weight and signing up to different events to try sports I had not or could not be part of previously due to weight issues. So since then I entered 3 triathlons last year, including one for the Teenage Cancer Trust, this year I decided I would take what I saw as the ultimate challenge, the London Marathon. Before 2013 I had not run further than 1km, so it was a huge challenge and something that seeing the battle Ruby went through acts as the motivation to complete. 

I have long been interested in the Teenage Cancer Trust, this included attending gigs and other things, however after seeing the experience of Ruby and hearing Roger Daltrey talk about a hospital visit where teenagers where particularly struggling with cancer and the hospital settings it really helped me to see how difficult it can be for teenagers at this stage of there life and how the settings care takes place in and support around this are just as important as the medical treatment. As the main charity focussed solely on these issues the Trust means an awful lot to me and the things it stands for have a very deep personal meaning.

At the moment I am 70% towards the £2000 target, so getting there slowly. I am doing things with friends like raffles and hosting a pub quiz trying to get the last bit towards the total but I find the fundraising target more daunting than the marathon at the moment.

Martyn

Some may say I’m crazy, but I am taking on the huge challenge of running the London Marathon on Sunday 26 April - 26.2 miles of pain. I am raising as much money as possible for Teenage Cancer Trust, one very close to my heart. At the age of 15 I was diagnosed with testicular cancer. As you can imagine it was one of the worst experiences of my life. Throughout my treatment from the age of 15 to 17 I had chemotherapy to 8 surgeries which included a 1/3 of each lung being removed, half of my liver removed, many lymph nodes and many other tumours removed. 

Much of this I feel could have avoided had I actually known you could get testicular cancer. The doctors estimated I had it for around 8-9 months before it had been detected, leading to it spreading so far.  I did not know you should check for the symptoms, let alone how too.

I was never treated on a Teenage Cancer Trust ward and I wish I had been. Back then they didn’t have as many specialist Teenage Cancer Trust wards in NHS hospitals as they do now. As my cancer was so severe, even at the age of 15 I was moved to the adult wards for much of my treatment which made the experience all the more difficult. 

I beat cancer the first time but at the age of 25, as I was enjoying life, keeping fit, happy and positive, everything came to a complete standstill as my cancer resurfaced it’s ugly head. Once again I had to be admitted to hospital to go through extensive treatment to fight this battle.

I’m now 33, young, fit and healthy (well….maybe not so young!). I feel the work the Teenage Cancer Trust are doing right now gives me a great opportunity to help others in a way I wasn't able to in the past.  To raise the profile of teenage and young adult cancer, supporting people in their darkest time and showing them that they can beat cancer.  I'm living proof that even when faced with the toughest of challenges, support and positivity will get you through a lot of the pain ahead (much like the marathon).

The thing I am most looking forward to on race day is the atmosphere and the crowd.  As you can imagine, running and training on your own, in the cold and rain, running for hours on end can get very boring and lonely.  I'm really looking forward to being energised and excited by the crowd on the day to push me up and over 'the wall'.