Mum still plans marathon effort for cancer charity

A MUM who was preparing to run the London Marathon in aid of a cancer charity still plans to take part in the event, which has been postponed because of coronavirus.

Emily Berge, from Woking, is raising money for Bowel & Cancer Research because both her parents were treated for the disease.

Emily Berge, Lily and Harry collecting for Bowel & Cancer Research in Woking town centre

She has put some of her fundraising efforts on hold but aims to carry on training to keep up a basic level of fitness.

The marathon was to have taken place on Sunday 26 April but has now been rescheduled to 4 October.

“Even in Italy and Spain, people are allowed to train outside by themselves, so I hope to be running along the Basingstoke Canal, which is an amazing training route,” Emily said.

She will be taking part in the 40th London Marathon if it goes ahead on the new date, although has had to stop some fundraising, such as baking cakes and selling them at work.

Before the coronavirus outbreak hit the UK, Emily put on a poo emoji costume and collected £278 in Woking town centre helped by her children, Lily and Harry.

“The costume caught people’s attention, so it was definitely worth wearing it,” she said. “They were very generous and stopped to talk about how bowel cancer had affected them.”

Emily’s dad, Robin Woodland, was first to be diagnosed, in 2010, when he was 59. This led his wife Susan to go for screening and she had an operation to treat the disease in 2015.

“Although mum and dad are now both cancer free, it’s a horrible disease which will continue to affect them for the rest of their lives,” said Emily.

She and her sisters, Kate and Jess Woodland, have all been advised they will need early screening for the cancer.

Emily, who trained as a biomedical scientist, says her decision to run the marathon is her way of giving something back.

“When mum and dad were ill, lots of charities were really helpful,” she added. “I decided to support Bowel & Cancer Research because I know the value of research, and one day in future I and my family might need some of the treatments which are being investigated today.”

 “The daft thing is that bowel cancer is so treatable if it’s found early. The trouble is that people are too embarrassed to go to the doctor.”

She said she was relatively new to running. “I’ve never been sporty but, after having the kids, I wanted to do some exercise. Running is free and I didn’t have to sign up to a gym.”

She tackled her first marathon in Brighton in 2018, supporting Bowel & Cancer Research. In London, she’s hoping to finish in less than five hours.

There to cheer her on will be her mum and dad, sisters, husband James, her two children and a group of friends.

A spokeswoman for Bowel & Cancer Research said the charity was grateful to Emily for her support. “It’s great to hear that Robin and Susan Woodland are well. Our mission is to ensure that no one should die of bowel cancer in future and we can only do that with the help of our fantastic fundraisers,” she said.

To donate to Emily’s fundraising drive, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/emily-berge1. For more information, visit www.bowelcancerresearch.org.

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