Fundraising lecturers are fighting fit for Paris Marathon
The fundraising friends, who have already collectively raised more than £3,000 for their chosen causes, are - Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Physiology, Dr Michelle Mellis; Principal Lecturer in Sport, Physical Activity and Health, Dr Zoe Rutherford; and Senior Lecturers in Sport and Exercise Psychology, Dr Faye Didymus and Dr Laurie Patterson. They will each take on the 26.2-mile challenge on Sunday 3 April.
All four women, who are researchers within Leeds Beckett’s Carnegie Faculty, have spent months training together for the event. You can follow their progress on Twitter via the hashtag #CarnegieGirlsCan.
The team was formed after the idea to run the marathon came when Dr Mellis and Dr Didymus decided they wanted to do a challenge for charity.
Dr Mellis, who is raising money for Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA), commented: “We didn't think about any easy or comfortable options, instead we just blurted out ‘Let's do a marathon!’. By the end of the day that we came up with the idea, all four of us were on board.
“In 2014, like so many others, I became aware of MND through the craze that was the very successful Ice Bucket Challenge. Very soon after that I learnt that a very close family friend had just been diagnosed with the same disease. This ridiculously rapid disease has no cure and it was a no-brainer for me when it came to choosing a charity. I’m running this marathon in my friend’s honour.”
Dr Mellis added that the challenge had provided an opportunity to inspire others and that the women hoped the #CarnegieGirlsCan hashtag would live on post-marathon.
Dr Didymus is raising money for the Lymphoma Association after her fiancé, Jon, was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma (a type of cancer that affects the lymphatic system) last year.
“I am regularly astounded by the strength and courage that Jon has shown in these most challenging of circumstances,” she said. “As I prepare for the marathon, I am overwhelmed with pride yet scared by the uncertainty that our future holds. The lymphoma battle and the marathon challenge are both very much on, and I hope that our training and the marathon day itself will help Jon and others through their battles in some small way.”
Mind UK is Dr Patterson’s charity of choice. She commented: “I would love to be able to share some personal stories about the way that mental health conditions have affected my family and friends, but it really isn’t my place to tell the world things that others wish to keep private – I hope you’ll understand that this in itself is one of the main reasons that I am running for Mind.
“What I can tell you is that in the last few years I’ve discovered that mental health issues are so much more common than I ever thought they were. They affect all types of people in many different ways. I have seen old and young men and women close to me suffer and struggle. These experiences have made me very aware that we often don’t know the true extent of other people’s situations.”
Dr Rutherford is fundraising on behalf of MacMillan UK and Coppafeel! – a charity on a mission to stamp out late detection of breast cancer. She said: “Over the past five years or so, breast cancer has been a part of my life, with my mum being diagnosed in early 2010. She is a survivor of the lumpectomy, chemo and Herceptin treatments and continues to be in remission. Recently, I have become more aware that this disease can affect young women too, with two of my university friends being diagnosed and still undergoing treatment. They are both in their early 30s. I too had my own scare last year, finding a lump and having to have a needle biopsy – which was super scary, but thankfully I was given the all clear.”
You can support #CarnegieGirlsCan by donating at the following links:
Dr Mellis: www.virginmoneygiving.com/MichelleMellis.
Dr Didymus: www.virginmoneygiving.com/FayeDidymus
Dr Patterson: www.virginmoneygiving.com/LaurieClaxton
Dr Rutherford: www.virginmoneygiving.com/ZoeRutherford1
Top photo (from L-R): Dr Didymus, Dr Rutherford, Dr Patterson and Dr Mellis.