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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.