The family of former Spalding champion swimmer Karen Sanderson aim to collect £15,000 in her memory and raise awareness of the disease that claimed her life.
Karen, who worked at Spalding’s Castle Sports Complex for 24 years, married the national retail manager of its operating company, Martin Plane, in June 2010.
Around 15 months after their marriage Karen was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Motor Neurone Disease (MND) and died in July this year, aged 47.
A celebration of Karen’s life was held in the same hall as the wedding reception.
Martin (54) said: “We had planned our whole future together. She was a beautiful looking girl.”
At Karen’s wake, Martin displayed hundreds of the gleaming medals and trophies she won in national competitions as a member of South Lincolnshire Competitive Swimming Club.
Donations totalling £2,500 were given at the funeral for the MND Association.
Martin – his sons Matthew (21) and Thomas (16) and Matthew’s partner Lauren – will take on the Three Peaks Challenge next year to raise money in Karen’s memory for the association.
Karen’s MND first surfaced in difficulty swallowing, choking while eating, and gradually robbed her of her upper body mobility, and speech – but she still managed to climb a mountain in the Lake District.
Martin said her fitness from swimming and running helped her fight the disease.
The couple had settled in Ash Hill, Norfolk, and Karen switched to a nearby Leisure Connection site until illness forced her to leave.
Martin said Karen’s diagnosis came as a bombshell, but she was utterly courageous.
He said: “She never complained once. You know people who say ‘why me?’, she was always smiling.”
• Donations to the MND Association in Karen’s memory can still be made via the funeral directors W C Littleproud and Son, Hale Road, Bradenham, Norfolk IP25 7RA.