It was a bit of a slog, but Blackpool student nurse Aless Pasqualino managed to complete her mission to mark her sister’s 10th anniversary of being leukaemia-free.
The 23-year-old finished the London marathon in close to six hours, still recovering from an earlier injury, and has raised well over £4,000 for teenage cancer charity CLIC Sargent.
Aless chose to support CLIC Sargent to pay the good cause back for the help it gave her family, especially her older sister Lucia.
In 2005, Lucia was diagnosed with high risk acute leukaemia at the age of 15 and two years later, organised a fuscia-themed ball for the charity as a thank you.
Aless decided to follow in her footsteps, to celebrate the fact it was 10 years since Lucia had finished her successful treatment.
Aless held a ladies night for family and friends at her home, with a raffle and pledged to run the 26 miles.
It was the first time she had ever run a marathon and she admitted she isn’t a “natural runner.”
Aless – who is training to be nurse, partly after being inspired by the medical professionals who helped Lucia – said: “I can’t tell you how amazing the London Marathon was.
“I completed it in five hours, 56 minutes. It was literally blood, sweat and tears.
“I got an injury three weeks before and was worried I wouldn’t be able to go ahead, but with lots of rest I managed.
“My knees gave in half-way through which meant I had to push through the pain, but I just kept telling myself the reason I was running, and it ended up being a really hot day, which was a struggle as I’d been training in six months of Blackpool weather.
“Nine of my family members, including my sister, came down to support me.
“I honestly don’t think I could have done it without them, their support has been amazing throughout my training.
“They joined the CLIC Sargent cheering points at miles 15 and 23, and gave me Jelly Babies to keep me going.
“The atmosphere on the day was something I have never experienced before, it was surreal.
“I am still receiving donations, but the total so far is £4,300, to say I had to reach a target of £1800, we have done amazingly.
“I can’t believe how generous people have been. Our charity night raised £1800 alone, and was a huge success.”
Aless said the support the family had received from CLIC Sargent while Lucia was undergoing treatment was first-class.
She was able to go to a siblings group at the hospital, where she met others going through the same as her.
Lucia was inspired to train as social worker due to the support she received.
Aless said: “Watching your sibling go through treatment is extremely hard.
“Although we will never forget what happened, it is thanks to charities like CLIC Sargent we got through.”