A Bath resident has decided to slip on her trainers and take on the challenge of running the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon for the first time, to celebrate a milestone in her cancer journey.
Claire Woolger, 25, is preparing to take on the gruelling 26.2 mile distance in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust.
Claire who began training in January will be one of 35,000 other runners heading to the start line on Sunday 23rd April and will also be part of a team of 160 runners who form ‘Team Teenage Cancer Trust’.
Claire was inspired to hit the road and take on one of the world’s best known challenges for Teenage Cancer Trust after experiencing first hand the charity’s services when she was diagnosed with Embryonal Rhabdomyosarcoma, a very rare cancer that affects 1 in a million children, at just 14 years old.
Claire said: “Being a teenager is already a tumultuous time in life- it’s essentially a time when teenagers need to feel they ‘fit in’ with their peers, and handle the extra responsibilities and opportunities that life is launching their way.
“Throw cancer into the mix and they could become hugely isolated which is the opposite of fitting in and how I initially felt at school when I was worrying about cancer and my friends were worrying about exams and school work.
“At a point in their life where life should just be kicking off they are confronted with a disease that they fully understand the severity of. It’s a frightening, isolating experience that needs specialist support- where Teenage Cancer Trust come in!
“The charity crushes the isolation that teenagers feel, it raises hope and provides them with the opportunity to cope through their cancer treatment. It recognises them as individuals and gives them a lifeline to cope.
“It did this for me, so there was never any doubt in my mind that I would fundraise for this charity. I am running to give teenagers diagnosed with cancer hope and raise awareness and funding for a charity that does so much work in getting them through.
“I’m 11 years clear now and during treatment would never have believed that a marathon would be something that I considered was possible so running the London Marathon in April is even more poignant for me as it represents living life to the full, so what better way to celebrate my milestone.”
All money raised by Teenage Cancer Trust’s runners will go towards helping people like Claire who was treated on their unit at the Royal Marsden in Sutton.
Every day around seven young people aged 13 to 24 from across the UK are diagnosed with cancer. Traditionally treated alongside children or elderly patients at the end of their lives, young people can feel extremely isolated, some never meeting another young person with cancer.
Being treated alongside others their own age in a Teenage Cancer Trust unit can make a huge difference to their whole experience. The state-of-the-art units are designed to feel like a home from home, where young people feel comfortable.
The walls are bright, the furniture is funky, there are pool tables, a jukebox and a place to watch films and surf the net.
If you would like to sponsor Claire, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Claire-Woolger.
If you would like to join Teenage Cancer Trust’s 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon team or take part in another fundraising challenge, call 020 7612 0370 or email [email protected].
Teenage Cancer Trust relies on donations to fund its vital work. For further information visit www.teenagecancertrust.org.