A marathon effort for sick teenagers

Runner Justine Lawson with cancer sufferer Holly King.
Runner Justine Lawson with cancer sufferer Holly King.
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A SPALDING runner, who raised more than £600 for charity last year, has been inspired to take to the road again – this time by a teenage cancer sufferer.

Justine Lawson ran her first half-marathon in September because her sister, Sonia Sparkes, suffers Multiple Sclerosis and she wanted to raise money for the MS Society.

She said: “While I was training for the half marathon, a close friend’s 17-year-old daughter, Holly King, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.

“I felt the only way I could help would be to show support for the family and decided to enter the Brighton Marathon to raise funds for Teenage Cancer Trust.

“All monies raised will be split between Teenage Cancer Trust, the MS Society and Acorns Children’s Hospice, which helps support life-limited children and their families near my parents’ home in Birmingham.”

Justine said training for the marathon, on April 15, is going well, but it is “incredibly tough”. She said: “I have to fit it in around my work as a Weight Watchers leader and looking after my two young children.

“I am up to 18 miles and, although it is very physically demanding, I just think about how difficult things are for my sister on a daily basis, and what Holly and her family have been going through this past year.”

Fortunately, Holly – who turned 18 in October and also lives in Spalding – is now well on the road to recovery.

Six people between the ages of 13 and 24 are told they have cancer each day across the UK.

More often than not, they are placed in either a children’s ward or with elderly patients. It can be a very isolating experience when faced with a cancer diagnosis.

Teenage Cancer Trust units are designed to be as close as possible to a teenagers normal life outside of hospital. The state of the art units help them cope with gruelling treatments and long stays in hospitals.

If anyone would like to sponsor Justine, they can go to her fundraising page at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JustineLawson