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Meet our Team Worldwide runners – it’s Laura Rawlings!

Running a marathon is no mean feat for anyone. Completing 26 gruelling miles is a huge achievement and we’re delighted to have such dedicated people who will be taking on the challenge this year at the London Marathon to raise money for Worldwide Cancer Research.

Completing a marathon to raise money for a good cause is a very selfless act but one of our Team Worldwide runners, 37-year-old Laura Rawlings from Devon, is doing it for herself as well as the countless others facing a cancer diagnosis. Laura has suffered from mental health problems and finds that running makes her feel a little better. It doesn’t cure her. It doesn’t fix all of her problems but it helps and she has chosen to turn that little piece of positivity into something great.

“I’ve been running on and off since 2014 and have always wanted to complete a marathon and couldn’t do it for a better cause,” she says. “I’ve struggled with mental health problems for years to the point where I’ve almost been sectioned and on bad days, I can’t leave the house. I’m unable to work because of it but when I run, it does help. It gives me a sense of freedom and time to myself to just think. It doesn’t fix things but it helps to lift my mood. This marathon will be a real personal challenge and I am determined to complete it.”

Like many others, Laura has family and friends who have suffered with cancer and chose to support Worldwide Cancer Research to help pioneering researchers to discover new, better ways to diagnose, prevent and treat cancer.

She is running in memory of her beloved aunt and to help support her good friend who is currently going through treatment.

“When I first started running, I ran for my Auntie Julie who had breast cancer at the time. We were like sisters and she was only 30 when she was diagnosed. Unfortunately she has since passed away. She had a double mastectomy but the cancer returned and it went into her bones. Nearly everyone in my family has been affected by some sort of cancer. One week after I found out I had a place in the marathon to run for Worldwide Cancer Research, I found out my good friend Hannah had breast cancer. I immediately cut my hair short to support her and my hair was past my bum so this was a huge deal for me. I donated the hair to help others going through cancer treatment.”

Laura starts her training in January. Although she’s not sticking to a rigid plan, she will be increasing the length of runs as she goes. “I’m not putting pressure on myself to make a certain time,” she says. “I’m just looking forward to turning up and doing it.”

As well as the run itself, Laura has been trying other novel ways to raise money.

“When we found out Hannah had breast cancer, my friends and I all wanted to help and so we staged a topless photoshoot to raise even more money and awareness, she says. “One of our friends is a boudoir photographer so it was very tastefully done. We want to generate as much awareness as we can and encourage women to check themselves. We had a real mix of women involved including a lady who has had reconstruction surgery. Local press were interested and we ran a competition to win a boudoir shoot and it was really successful. I’m just glad to do what I can to raise money and awareness for such an important cause and incredible charity.”

If you've been inspired by Laura's story and would love to join Team Worldwide, check out our list of amazing events which we have places for in 2019! And if you would like to donate in support of the fantastic work Worldwide Cancer Research funds, please click here.