Marathon effort for Cancer United reduces charity founder to tears

Gill and Richard Taylor present a cheque for �2,725.40 to Cancer United founder Jan Sheward, centre
Gill and Richard Taylor present a cheque for �2,725.40 to Cancer United founder Jan Sheward, centre

Special guests at a Cancer United social evening had a fantastic surprise for the Angmering-based charity.

Gill and Richard Taylor presented a cheque for £2,725.40 to Cancer United founder Jan Sheward, who was amazed by the total they had raised at the Brighton Marathon.

Jan said: “This money will make such a difference to our members and our charity.”

Having not run for ten years, Gill, 60, and Richard trained for the marathon and completed it in April this year. Although they had run a marathon some years ago, they had to start more or less from scratch and build up the fitness, stamina and determination needed for a full marathon.

They were encouraged by Gill’s sister-in-law, Sue Waton, who was diagnosed with cancer in May 2016 and had to have a radical hysterectomy and chemotherapy, followed by a repair operation to bladder damage caused in the original operation.

Sue said: “Cancer United have been so instrumental in my recovery from an aggressive endometrial tumour.

“Jan was in tears. I think she’d expected around £500 and was completely overwhelmed to receive so much more.

“Cancer United is an amazing little local charity that does so much to help those whose lives have been changed by this disease. The charity caters for all cancer types, uniting people affected by this life-changing experience at diagnosis, during treatment and after treatment, as people move forwards in a positive way with their lives.

“They are inclusive and offer support to anyone with a diagnosis but also their friends and families who are such an important part of each person’s journey.

“As well as the pastoral benefits of meeting up and sharing advice and experiences, Cancer United has a physical activity initiative called CU Fitter, which offers a range of programmes of physical exercise specifically developed for cancer patients at all stages of their cancer journey. They also offer Outsing Cancer, a new choir that meets weekly.”

Sue said cancer patients can feel intimidated in a regular gym environments, due to the degree of their illness, incapacity or disfigurement.

Cancer United built its own gym in Angmering in October 2015. This was the first dedicated exercise space specifically for those undergoing treatment or in recovery.

Sue added: “Research is now proving that exercise is vital for cancer recovery and prevention of a recurrence, and the charity’s mission is to roll out the CU Fitter exercise model nationwide.”

Sue was a keen hillwalker and mountaineer before her illness. Determined to get back out on her beloved hills, she joined the CU Fitter gym, having found out about it at a Macmillan information day.

She gradually progressed from seated exercise to the more challenging classes, using weights and resistance bands, and CU Fitter has helped her achieve her goal.

Sue recently climbed Tryfan in Snowdonia, which had long been an ambition of hers.

She said: “I am immensely grateful to Cancer United and in particular Dwayne and Sarah, the trainers who have helped and encouraged me throughout my recovery so far.”

Sue was delighted when Gill and Richard decided to run the marathon to raise funds and awareness of Cancer United and was particularly impressed with the early morning winter runs they carried out, whatever the weather.

At the presentation evening, Sue said: “I am overwhelmed by the amount of money Gill and Richard have raised, CU is a small charity that can have a hugely positive impact in local people’s lives, the work they do is amazing.”

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