Image: Francesco Silverton in Royal Parks Half Marathon 2017
Some 22 members of #teamICR will be running the Royal Parks Half Marathon this Sunday to raise money for cancer research.
The route will take runners through Hyde Park, Green Park and St. James' Park, passing some of the most iconic landmarks in London. We would like to wish them the best of luck on race day! You can find out about some of their stories below.
Erica Gill, Buckinghamshire
“Two years ago, when my friend Nicola called me, I could tell immediately that something was very wrong. She told me her partner and my old friend, Doug, had bowel cancer.
“It was a huge shock. Nicola and Doug had been expecting the news but had no idea how advanced his cancer was”, said Erica.
Unfortunately, by the time he was diagnosed Doug already had secondary disease in his liver and lungs. He was just 35.
He had three quarters of his liver removed, but sadly the cancer came back in the remaining liver soon after he recovered from surgery.
Erica said: “At the time, their daughter was just three years old. The doctors thought there may be nothing they can do for him.
“It was a terrible time. I just felt so helpless, normally with problems you can help people, but with cancer, there was nothing I could do. That’s why I decided to do what I can, and raise money for the ICR.”
Doug is still receiving treatment now in his home town of Milton Keynes.
Erica ran the London Marathon for The Institute of Cancer Research, London, two years ago, she has since decided to raise money again and this time opted for the Royal Parks Half Marathon.
Erica is planning a boys’ night, where all of their friends will get together, have a BBQ and play pool. At the last event, everyone was extremely generous and came with their own story of how cancer has affected them.
Support Erica and donate to the ICR
Francesco Silverston, London
Francesco is running the Royal Parks Half Marathon for the second year in a row. Last year, he finished in the top 2,000 out of 16,000 runners. He enjoyed the experience so much, he jumped at the chance to do it again this year.
Francesco’s father, who lives in Italy, was diagnosed with lung cancer in January 2016.
He was given just six months to live, but is still alive and receiving treatment nearly three years later, thanks to advances in lung cancer research.
Francesco said: “The Royal Parks Half Marathon last year was the best experience of my life. The support I had from the ICR was incredible.
“On the ninth mile, there they were cheering me on. I couldn’t help it, but I screamed with happiness, The ICR managed to get a photo, it’s the best photo of me I have ever seen. I just couldn’t wait to do it all again.”
Francesco has struggled with the distance between him and his father, and although he goes back to visit his father when he can, wanted to do more to support him. This is why he decided to take on a challenge to raise money for cancer research.
“I have gone back home to see my father whenever I can, but I wanted to do more. Raising money for research wasn’t just a way I could support him, but it would benefit all people going through cancer.
“As a family, we are so grateful for the research behind the progress in cancer treatment that means my father is still here today.”
Last year, he smashed his fundraising target of £500, and raised a fantastic £750, he is keen to exceed this the second time round.
Support Francesco and donate to the ICR
Lucinda Worth, London
Lucinda’s step father was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2017. Thankfully his surgery was a success and he is now doing well.
Lucinda’s family are grateful to the advances in treatment that have come from cancer research, and since her step father’s recovery she has wanted to give something back.
Sadly, cancer has impacted Lucinda’s family further, her aunt died of lymphoma. Lucinda has never been a runner but at the start of the new year decided she wanted a big challenge.
Lucinda said: “When my step dad was diagnosed it was such a scary time for us all. You hear the word ‘cancer’ and you immediately think of death.
“Thankfully, there are so many good cancer treatments out there now, and research was something I wanted to support. The ICR is such a worthy cause.
“Raising money for the ICR has really helped keep me going, and I think of all of the people who no longer have the opportunity to run. Knowing that the money is coming in makes all the pain worth it, it spurs me on when the going gets tough.”
Support Lucinda and donate to the ICR
If you have been inspired by our Royal Parks Half Marathon runners and would like to fundraise for the ICR, find out more on our Sports and Challenges page.
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