Mariam Ayad, 37, from London
Mariam is taking on the challenge in memory of her husband, Billy, who died of cancer during the Covid-19 pandemic. After Billy died, Mariam found a list of life challenges he’d left her. Running the London Marathon was at the top of the list.
Sunday will be especially poignant for Mariam, as the event is on a date that’s very close to her heart, as she explains:
“The marathon falls on what would have been our wedding anniversary and I can’t think of a better reason to run in memory of Billy on that day. Billy was an incredible father to our four girls and a very supportive husband; he was the best person I knew.
“When Billy was diagnosed, I found the experience really lonely and that’s where Macmillan came in. They made it less lonely. The emotional support, information and help we received throughout was vital. That’s why I’m running as part of Team Macmillan on Sunday to raise money for the charity so it can continue to be there for everyone with cancer.”
Louise Bartha, 47, from Brighton
Louise is also running for Macmillan after experiencing the crucial support the charity provides first-hand. Louise was first diagnosed with melanoma in 2016, followed by basal cell carcinoma in 2018 and lung cancer in early 2019. Louise said:
“I am so excited to take on the marathon. The run will be a huge bucket-list moment for me and an accumulation of so much hard work and mental resilience following my cancer diagnosis.”
Previously a fit non-smoker, Louise had a lung resection and then half her left lung removed. The mum-of-two credits running as a massive part of her recovery. This will be her first London Marathon – although she first started training for the event in 2018, circumstances got in the way. This year Louise finally gets her a chance to make her dream come true.
Louise continued: “I was set to run the London Marathon but unfortunately my diagnosis stopped me, and then a global pandemic came along, all of which is going to make this weekend even more special. Following my cancer diagnosis, I needed the physical challenge to remind myself that my body would still be capable and I’m so proud that I can still push myself to achieve the things I want to do.”
Manchinder Brainch, 45, from Leicester
Manchinder is running the event for Macmillan in memory of his wife, Raj, who died of cancer in 2012. Manchinder said;
“When Raj was diagnosed with stomach cancer Macmillan stepped in and helped me and our family get through some of the hardest days of our lives. The wonderful Macmillan nurses were there for Raj and all the family throughout her illness, that’s why I’m so proud to be taking on the London Marathon to give something back to the charity so it can continue to help so many people affected by cancer.”
The 2021 Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday 3 October is set to be the largest marathon staged anywhere in the world, with more than 40,000 participants on the traditional course from Blackheath to The Mall and more than 40,000 people completing the 26.2 miles on the course of their choice anywhere in the world.
Claire Rowney, Executive Director of Fundraising, Marketing and Innovation at Macmillan Cancer Support, said:
“The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on our income, at a time when people living with cancer need our support more than ever to help navigate through what continues to be an incredibly anxious period.
“We’re thrilled to be the official charity partner of this year’s event – the vital funds raised by our runners and supporters will help us continue to do whatever it takes so we can be there for everyone living with cancer from day one of their diagnosis.”
To donate to Team Macmillan visit londonmarathon.macmillan.org.uk
The funds raised by Team Macmillan participants and supporters will help Macmillan continue to do whatever it takes to provide vital support so many rely on and reach its goal of being there for everyone, from day one of their cancer diagnosis.