Thursday 2nd November 2017
Anne-Sophie Darlington had been planning to run the Bournemouth Marathon for some time. She was training hard, fitting it around her cancer research work as a psychologist at the University of Southampton and working with the team on our unit at Southampton General Hospital. A week before the race it occurred to her that she could combine the two and fundraise for Teenage Cancer Trust with her marathon. The only problem was that she only had a few days to raise her target of £500.
Anne-Sophie knows more about how cancer effects young people than most. She is an Associate Professor at the University, carrying out research into understanding cancer and improving the quality of life for patients, particularly for teenagers and young adults. She is currently working on a project to develop a questionnaire for young people with cancer, looking at the particular issues faced by this group, which can be very different to those faced by adults. She hopes that this questionnaire will be used to find out more about these young cancer patients, to measure quality of life in clinical trials and to assess short and long term outcomes of new treatments and interventions.
Working closely with our team on the Teenage Cancer Trust unit in Southampton as part of her work, Anne-Sophie had seen first-hand what a difference our units and services can make to the young people we help. She said “Once I’d decided to raise money for Teenage Cancer Trust, I was keen to wear a running top with the logo on. Thankfully someone on the unit had one for me to borrow last minute! I was excited about running the marathon and about being in Bournemouth. The atmosphere was great and running along the beach was super. It was, however, very hot and 26.2 miles rather is a long way to run!
I was really encouraged by the support I got with shouts of "Come on Teenage Cancer Trust, you can do it"! These things really make a difference."
Anne-Sophie also knew that Leonie Oliver, the Youth Support Co-ordinator from our Southampton Unit, was supporting the event by performing with drumming band Batala Portsmouth along the race route, so she kept a look out for her. She spotted Leonie and the band at mile 21. Anne-Sophie said "I got such a kick out of seeing them there and having them cheer me on."
Despite the short notice, Anne-Sophie was able to smash her fundraising target and raise over £1,000 from generous donations from her friends and family. She said "Teenage Cancer Trust is such a great cause that people were really happy to support me."
Anne-Sophie leads an international project, carried out with colleagues across Europe and the world, through the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Group. Find out more about this project.
Leonie and Anne-Sophie