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Shonagh and Eric Fick walk marathon miles in memory of their mothers

To walk a gruelling 26 miles is no mean feat for anyone. For 63-year-old Shonagh Fick and her 70-year-old husband Eric, the marathon walk was a way to remember their mothers. While doing this, they thought that some good could be done helping fund researchers to find better treatments and cures for the 200 types of cancer today. Signing up with Worldwide Cancer Research was an easy option for them to fundraise for a worthy cause and one that was also close to their hearts.

The couple walked the London Marathon this year and raised almost £1400 for the charity. They did this in honour of their mothers who both had breast cancer.

"2018 has been a significant year for us," says Shonagh. "Eric turned 70 and we realised that it's been exactly 20 years since both our mothers passed away. We had always wanted to fundraise together and we decided that this was our year - before Eric gets too ancient!"

“My mother, Jess, died of breast cancer. She had been living with cancer for 20 years and went through operations, radiotherapy and chemotherapy but succumbed in 1998. Eric's mother, Joan, died the same year. She had also lived with breast cancer but had refused chemotherapy after her mastectomy and ended up dying from senile dementia. 

"Although their stories were completely different, they had both suffered from the same horrendous disease and that's why we chose to support a cancer charity.  As with all families, we have several cancer stories as well as many friends affected by it. Cancer has no boundaries so the sooner scientists can find cures and treatments, the better."

Shonagh and Eric, who live in Kent, signed up for a walking marathon and underwent a rigorous training regime.

"We trained for four months following a training schedule provided by Discovery Adventures,” explains Shonagh. “People of our age need to put in the training to achieve a challenge such as this. We had terrific support and encouragement, both from the marathon organisers and also from Worldwide Cancer Research.  This made a huge difference - we felt we weren't alone.  I wrote a weekly blog on the JustGiving page, popping in photographs and trying to keep our financial supporters interested too."   

The couple's hard work paid off as they managed to complete the walk in eight hours 40 minutes - quicker than their target time.

"We would have been delighted to do it in under nine hours so we were thrilled with our final timing," says Shonagh. "And that was after a bit of a setback!"

About nine miles into the walk, Shonagh slipped on a wet manhole cover and broke her finger.

"It had been raining non-stop all day and I couldn't believe it when I slipped so early into the walk," she says.  "The other walkers around us were so supportive and scooped me up and strapped up my hand as best as they could. There were no medics on hand at the time and although I was in pain, I had to keep going. A broken finger was not going to stop this girl finishing! I swallowed some painkillers and kept walking."

Even with Shonagh's fall, the couple managed to complete the walk well within their desired time and celebrated that evening in London with their family who had come to support them.

"We're so elated to have raised money for such a worthy cause and to celebrate the lives of two amazing women."

"They were both inspirational to us on how to fight adversity and not let it get the better of you. Always making a plan for the future and praying that a cure would be found in time. In our family, we have had many brushes with this horrendous disease. It can attack anyone at any time. I'm delighted that our money will go towards scientists’ research to keep fighting for a cure for us all."

We are so grateful to Shonagh and Eric for all their hard work training and walking the marathon. They have raised a fantastic amount which will go towards supporting pioneering cancer research projects in the UK and around the world. If you have been inspired to fundraise for us, please click here for lots of ideas to kick-start your charity challenge.

Kind-hearted brothers raise £20,000 for Worldwide Cancer Research in memory of stepdad

Losing a loved one to cancer can leave many people feeling helpless. Steve and Kevin Parker, however, were determined to do something positive following the death of their beloved stepdad Mike. Between them, the brothers raised over £20,000 for Worldwide Cancer Research.

“Between us, we had lost several friends and relatives to various types of cancer,” says Steve. “When we found out that our stepdad was dying of bowel cancer, we knew we needed to do something to help. We took Mike out for a drink and told him we would be running the London Marathon to help raise money for a cure, not just for bowel cancer but for the hundreds of different types of cancer there are. That’s why Worldwide Cancer Research hit home for us, as by donating to them the money goes directly to scientists across the globe to help find cures and treatments for all cancer types.”

The brothers’ stepdad, Michael Fryer, was diagnosed with bowel cancer which then spread to his liver and elsewhere. He was given six months to live and died at the age of 77. Although completing the London Marathon is an excellent achievement, Steve (47) and Kevin (44) were astounded to raise so much money from their various fundraising efforts.

“When we were accepted to run the marathon for Worldwide Cancer Research, I sat down with my brother and we came up with ideas to raise as much money as possible,” says Steve. “We wanted to do something really positive. I work in finance and I persuaded the other managers to shave their heads with me – that raised £5,000 alone which was our initial overall target!

“We hosted a band night, a horseracing night, raffles and cake sales and, of course, the marathon itself. We kept pushing ourselves to raise as much money as possible and it really paid off.”

The hard work did not go unnoticed and the team at Worldwide Cancer Research invited the family, from Bristol, to one of the research centres to see what their money was being used for.

“It was such an incredible day to see what our money would be used to do, it really cemented everything we did,” says Steve. “It’s always great to give to charities but to actually see for yourself the scientists working in the lab and using equipment that you helped to pay for is pretty incredible.”

The brothers and their families have raised just over £20,000 for the charity and are showing no signs of stopping.

“We’ve had everyone involved – including our wives and kids – and it’s a great experience to know that you’re doing something good for an amazing cause,” says Steve. “We put on an 80s disco in March to raise money and I am planning on doing the Great North Run, it’s definitely an ongoing thing. I would love to run the London Marathon again to beat my time of four and a half hours and would, of course, try to raise more money for Worldwide Cancer Research.”

It’s people like Steve and Kevin who are helping to find cures and treatments for the hundreds of types of cancers that claim thousands of lives a year - lives like Mike’s.

“We want to remember everyone and help fight this for future generations,” says Steve. “It was really nice for our mum, Lyn, to see us really go for it and raise so much money. It was an emotional time for everyone and I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved. I know Mike would be too.”

If you would like to make a donation to Worldwide Cancer Research, please click here.

Drew Heatley raises £4,000 for Worldwide Cancer Research in hottest ever London Marathon

A lot of people might shudder at the thought of running 26 miles during a heatwave but one determined man wasn’t going to let passing out stop him from completing a marathon.

Drew Heatley of Leyton, East London collapsed due to heat exhaustion while competing in this year’s London Marathon to raise cash for Worldwide Cancer Research.

Three months on, the 31-year-old is speaking out about the driving force behind his will to finish the race – his late mum Christine whom he lost to cancer in 2012.

And the runner who raised more than £4,000 for the charity is keen to encourage others to donate to help find the cures for cancer.

This year’s event, held on April 22, was the hottest on record, with runners competing in temperatures reaching 23.2C.

“If Mum was here she would find it amazing that I’ve achieved it,” said Drew.

After being diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2009, Mrs Heatley received chemotherapy and beat it before it returned in 2011, spreading to her bones.

Drew started running after his mother’s diagnosis, as a form of therapy, and after her death he decided to use his fitness to benefit others.

“I felt I had to contribute in some way to help save future lives and what struck me about Worldwide Cancer Research was the science aspect.” he said.

“These amazing scientists all over the world need to be able to make progress and find new cures and treatments and they can only do that with funding through the charity. I felt I had to do my bit.”

But with just one mile to go, Mr Heatley thought all his efforts were about to be wasted when his legs gave way.

“I had completely overheated and had a body temperature of 39 degrees,” he said. “I really thought I’d blown it.”

Thanks to help from a medical team and his wife Emily, he eventually made it across the finishing line after a gruelling five hours and 13 minutes, which, he believes, would make his mum “burst with pride”.

He added: “I wasn’t sure I could get back up again but I thought of mum and all the people who had sponsored me and I knew I had to finish. I needed that medal so I walked the last 600 metres.”

Although Drew admits it was a tough day for him, he hasn’t let the ordeal put him off running and hopes to complete another marathon next year – but this time in autumn or winter.

If you would like to make a donation to Worldwide Cancer Research, please click here.