I am running the London Marathon in loving memory of my nan, Nanny Brenda. I lost my nan to leukaemia about four years ago and it was an extremely difficult time for the whole family. Nanny was the hub of the Nicholls’, always organising family do’s just so everyone could be together.
She absolutely loved embarrassing all the grandchildren in one way or another, with her funny one-liners or awkward hugs and kisses. But everyone loved it. Grandad never got a look in as she was always the forefront of the entertainment.
This marathon also means a lot to me because it’s my dad’s birthday on the 28th April, marathon day. Dad was always extremely close to Nanny; suppose you could call him a bit of a mummy’s boy. So, to be able to raise money for this incredible cause and take part in this incredible event is a bit of a dream come true, and I know the thought of how proud Nanny would be will keep me going throughout the gruelling 26.2 miles. Bring it on.
I run for a variety of reasons. Truly and honestly, I run for the moments. I train my body and my mind for these races, to gain unimaginable and unthinkable moments that I never thought I was capable of. As I continue my quest toward the completion of the Abbott World Marathon Majors, London and Leukaemia Care hold a special place. Unfortunately, my family has been struck with the different types of the disease of cancer too many times. I lost my amazing beautiful aunt to a form of it, and more recently my grandfather to leukaemia in 2016. Between those two, and my two grandmothers who have passed as well, I run for them. It’s my honour to run in their honour. They built me, raised me, and all had a hand in what I’ve become today. Although I could never repay the debt of what they gave me in their time, running for them is what I feel could help chip away at how grateful I am. When I cross the finish line, in hopefully a new personal record time, my four fingers will point to the sky as my four angels will take me all the way there.
My lovely mum!
My mum was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia in the 1990’s. She’d felt under the weather for around four years. She was very tired and had lost weight but her GP didn’t think there was anything wrong and labelled her a hypochondriac. A chance appointment with my GP saw her receive a diagnosis and start on her treatment journey.
She went through a stem cell transplant, total body irradiation and chemotherapy, as well as being pumped full of drugs to keep her vital organs in working order. It was a difficult time for everybody, I thought I’d lost her on more than one occasion.
But we were blessed and she was one of the “lucky” ones. The treatment worked and she went into remission for 15 years. Eventually, the leukaemia came back; it’s not curable but it’s treatable and the treatment has come such a long way since she was first diagnosed that she’s doing okay. Patient support can be in short supply and I’d like to do my bit to help. She will be there cheering me on along with my two children on Marathon day.
I took up running four years ago never thinking that I would ever run a marathon. I ran my 1st half marathon in May 2016 adamant that I would never do a full! I ran my 1st marathon in Birmingham in October 2017, then my 2nd six months later at the Great Welsh.
My reason for choosing Leukaemia Care is that my wonderful nan had leukaemia for 10 years before she passed away in October 2015. She was always one of my strongest supporters and believed in me even when I doubted myself. My family has strong links with the NHS with my nan, mom and aunt having worked in the nursing profession, and I work as a pharmacy technician, so we all know how important the support of charities such as Leukaemia Care are to patients throughout their journey. It will be an honour to complete London in April in my nan’s memory, knowing that when the miles get tough I am doing it for her to ensure that others who find themselves in the same situation she was get all the help & support they need.
The London Marathon is and has always been an institution in my family. As far back as I can remember in my childhood, I would sit and watch the entire coverage of the London Marathon with my Mum – and that has been a staple every year without fail. For the first time this year, I won’t be watching it – but my Mum certainly will be – and with added interest, I hope – as, after many years of trying to secure a place, I’ll finally be running it myself!
I decided to choose Leukaemia Care as the charity is one that is close to my heart, having recently lost my beautiful Auntie Nina to the disease. After winning many a battle along the way, my beloved Auntie passed away when a donor match could not be found. She left behind her devoted husband of more than forty years, and three loving children and seven grandchildren who she adored. Nina was a shining light in our family and is terribly missed.
Whilst running in the London Marathon will allow me to fulfil my lifetime dream, it will also help support this amazing charity, and all in the name of my dear Auntie Nina.
I was thrilled to receive an email from Team Leukaemia Care advising that they had a place for me in the 2019 London Marathon – although, by the time all was confirmed, there was just one hundred days until the race on the big day! With no time to spare, I drafted a fifteen-week training plan, alternating rest days with fixed cycling, three-mile hill runs, three to six mile flat runs and long distance training – scaling that from six miles up to eighteen in the month ahead of race day. Following her diagnosis and throughout the extremely arduous treatment, my dear Aunt fearlessly battled her illness with strength and determination. I am taking to my training with that memory of her in mind, drawing on the inspiration of her courageousness to get me through those tough runs.
Just over four years ago, our family received the devastating news that my mum had been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). The prognosis, due to her age, was poor with a life expectancy of less than 18 months. The first year was indeed a horrendous time and when Mum contracted pneumonia we feared the worst. However, the doctors and nurses at Northwick Park Hospital performed miracles to keep her with us and she was able to make progress, helped considerably by her own courage and determination. So here we are now after innumerable blood and platelet transfusions and, whilst she is still receiving weekly chemotherapy treatment, she is now feeling better than she has at any time since her diagnosis. She is, as her doctors have described her, ‘a miracle’.
So, now it’s my turn to put in a bit of effort and determination to help raise money for Leukaemia Care who have provided support sessions for my mum. These sessions with other leukaemia sufferers have been immensely valuable at helping my mum and others share their experiences and provide advice to each other and show that, despite the cruel pain of leukaemia treatment, there is a real reason for hope and optimism.
We at Leukaemia Care would like to say a massive thank you to every single one of our runners, as well as those who have donated to help them reach their target. You help to make the care we provide a possibility. And, of course, good luck! You can do it!