Race day marks Susanna’s 18-year wedding anniversary
A mother of two from Nottingham will be running the virtual London Marathon to help finish cancer, following her own recovery from the disease.
Susanna Stephenson, who was diagnosed with breast cancer aged 41, has chosen to take on the 26-mile challenge to fundraise for The Institute of Cancer Research, London.
After she was diagnosed in 2014, Susanna underwent surgery, followed by three weeks of radiotherapy, and was then put on a hormone therapy called tamoxifen, which she stayed on for five years.
Last October, Susanna was given the all clear and was told she could stop taking the medication.
Susanna was a keen runner prior to her diagnosis, but her fitness levels suffered a knock while she was undergoing treatment, and so she wanted to take on the marathon challenge to try and push herself.
Training is going well, and Susanna can now run even further than she was able to before she was diagnosed.
Although this year’s marathon has been cancelled for all but the elite runners, Susanna wanted to make the most of her months of training and has decided to take part in the virtual event, running the 26 miles around her home village in Nottinghamshire.
Susanna will be doing the run with two friends, and the group have arranged for family and friends to come to various points of the route to cheer them on.
The race day – Sunday 4 October – will also be Susanna’s 18th wedding anniversary, and she’s looking forward to celebrating at the finish line with her husband, Neil.
Susanna has now hit her target of raising £2,000 for The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), but hopes that one final push will get her up to her stretch target of £2,500.
Her fundraising will help the ICR to finish and equip their major new research facility, the Centre for Cancer Drug Discovery.
The new centre will house the world’s first drug discovery programme focusing on tackling cancer’s ability to evolve and develop resistance to drugs.
Funds raised by Susanna, and the ICR’s amazing team of runners, will help get their research off to the best possible start in the new centre – to create a new generation of treatments that will make a difference to millions of people with cancer.
Susanna Stephenson, 48, who is running the virtual Virgin Money London Marathon for The Institute of Cancer Research, London, said:
“I remember when I found the lump on my breast, I immediately went cold. I’m really lucky that I caught it early. I was able to get diagnosed and get treated straight away, but I know not everyone is as lucky. The ICR is an amazing charity, and I chose to run the marathon for them so they can help people like me in the future.
“I used to run a lot before I got diagnosed, but then the cancer really set me back. Having a marathon to train for has really helped me – amazingly, I’m even fitter than I was before I had my treatment. I’d run half marathons before, but now I’m doing 22-mile runs – and hopefully I can do 26 on the day itself!
“It is a shame the marathon had to be cancelled this year, but I think it’s still going to be a really special day. We’ve got lots of friends and family who will be coming out along the route to cheer us on, and our families are all going to be there at the finish line. It’s also going to be my 18–year wedding anniversary that day. It’s not quite how I imagined celebrating, but hopefully the thought of my husband waiting at the end with champagne will help to spur me on!”
Lannah Carbonilla, Head of Supporter Engagement at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, said:
“The coronavirus crisis has posed huge challenges for us, and we’re now facing a loss of income as our research funding is cut. We’re so grateful for Susanna’s continued support, which will make a massive difference in enabling us to continue our life-saving work. Although we can’t be there at the start line to cheer her on, we’ll be rooting for her virtually the whole time.”
To support Susanna and help the ICR finish cancer, please visit: www.justgiving.com/susanna-stephenson