I'll honour my mum’s last wish for me to complete the marathon.

PUBLISHED ON: 19 April 2017

This Sunday we'll be cheering on our amazing runners at the Virgin Money London Marathon. We spoke to a few of our running champions about their #ReasonToRun and why they're supporting Breast Cancer Care.

1. 'Lauren can't run, so I will.'

Mark and Lauren

When Mark’s girlfriend, Lauren, discovered breast cancer would stop her running the London Marathon, he stepped in to help.

At the age of 25 Lauren was diagnosed with a rare form of breast cancer, malignant phyllodes tumour. She had hoped to run for Breast Cancer Care, to help others receive the support she had, after attending a Younger Women Together course. The effects of treatment forced her to pull out.

'It’s going to be emotional. When Lauren was diagnosed I was shocked. Having her in the crowd will spur me on.'

2. 'When we started talking about our wedding earlier this year, I knew there was only one way to do it.'

Jackie and her fiancee run the Richmond marathonMost brides know what their dream wedding would look like. For Jackie, hers is running the London Marathon alongside her new husband, Duncan, after tying the knot on the Cutty Sark.

Jackie, 35, was diagnosed with breast cancer just weeks after getting engaged three years ago. She also underwent surgery aged 24 for hip dysplasia, and had to learn to walk again, let alone run.

'Running made me feel alive during treatment. I ran my first ever 10k during chemotherapy, with no hair and my acute oncology card in my back pocket. I hope to inspire others facing challenges to go further than they ever thought possible.'

The couple have asked for donations instead of wedding gifts, and Jackie has already raised an incredible £14k for Breast Cancer Care and Willow Foundation.

'When you’ve fought for your life, it’s hard to plan too far ahead and rest your happiness on one day in the future. I wanted to combine the things I love – running and charity. These are the two charities that gave us back our smiles.'

3. 'Thinking about Alice will keep me going.'

Alice and Chris on their wedding day

Chris had just bought an engagement ring for his girlfriend Alice when she was diagnosed with breast cancer aged 26. Two years later, following a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, Alice is having her breast reconstructed, and Chris - now her husband - is set to run the London marathon for Breast Cancer Care.

'Running a marathon is nothing compared to six rounds of chemotherapy or three weeks of radiotherapy. It puts it into context. I’ll be thinking about Alice and the other people I know who have been through treatment.'

4. 'I'll honour my mum’s last wish for me to complete the marathon.'

Leanne and her mum on her wedding dayJust one month after losing her mum to breast cancer, Leanne will be running the London marathon to raise money for Breast Cancer Care.

Her mum, Anne, was diagnosed with incurable, secondary breast cancer last year. Leanne hoped she might be able to cheer her on, but sadly she died in March.

Leanne has raised an amazing £8,500 so far, in memory of her mum and her mother-in-law, who also died from breast cancer.

'I will do whatever it takes to help raise awareness. Thinking about my mum will keep me going. She tried so hard to fight it.'

5. 'Remembering the emotion of last year will get me over the line.'

Stuart and Beth

Days before Stuart’s 40th birthday and their wedding anniversary, his wife Beth began chemotherapy for breast cancer. She went on to have a mastectomy and reconstruction. Now Stuart is running the London Marathon to raise awareness and raise money to thank Breast Cancer Care for supporting her.

'She was so amazing, strong and positive throughout the whole experience - she doesn’t give herself enough credit. For my birthday, Beth decided to buy me 40 presents – there was a photograph album of me through my life and a signed rugby jersey amongst other thoughtful things. It cheered us both up and she found it a great distraction.'

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