A Blackpool grandmother has been chosen to spearhead a major nationwide campaign urging people to go the distance to help charity.
Vicky Sloane, 67, was today named as a year-long ‘go the distance ambassador’ by Cancer Research UK, as it was unveiled as the official charity partner for the Virgin Money London Marathon in 2015.
To celebrate its special year of running, Cancer Research UK has appointed 26 inspirational ambassadors, one to represent each mile of the marathon.
Like Vicky, each ambassador has gone the distance with cancer themselves or supported a loved one with the illness.
The team will be rallying communities across the UK to go their own distance for Cancer Research UK by taking up a running challenge this year – whether it’s a long-distance event or a lap of their local playing field.
Vicky’s husband, Eddie Sloane, a roofer, was diagnosed with aggressive stomach cancer on Christmas Eve 2007. Despite being told there was no cure, Eddie survived until October 2010.
He and Vicky, who were married for 48 years, were able to enjoy visits to their holiday home in Spain and spend quality family time together in between periods of treatment.
But the great-grandfather was then diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2009. Sadly, he died in October 2010, aged 72.
Vicky, who gave up work to nurse Eddie, had gradually put on weight while her husband was ill.
After joining The Goal-den Girls – a running club made up of women aged 50-plus – she dropped from dress size 24 to size 16. Vicky, who had never exercised before, completed the Edinburgh Marathon in 2012 fundraising for Cancer Research UK.
This weekend, she visited London to watch her hero Mo Farah compete in the Virgin Money London Marathon.
For 2014, Vicky’s running challenge will be Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life Blackpool event, on The Promenade on Wednesday July 9.
Vicky, who works part-time helping out her son and daughter-in-law at the children’s nurseries they run, said: “Cancer Research UK is very close to my heart and I am delighted to have been chosen as an ambassador in the charity’s special year of running.
“I’m calling on people to take on just one running challenge over the next 12 months, big or small. Cancer Research UK offers a range of events to suit every age and ability.
“I would never have imagined I would be a runner one day, so if I can do it – anyone can. What keeps me going is the knowledge the funds we raise are helping to ensure more people can be treated successfully.
“If the word ‘run’ scares you, then jog or even walk, just join in, have fun, and support this immensely important charity.”
Jane Bullock, Cancer Research UK spokeswoman for Lancashire, said: “In the lead-up to the Virgin Money London Marathon 2015, we’d love to see thousands more people pounding the pavement and raising funds to ensure more men, women and children in the North West survive the disease.”
The official Virgin Money London Marathon ballot opens in the early hours of April 22 and is likely to reach capacity by lunchtime.
Visit www.cruk.org/support-us/find-an-event or www.cruk.org/marathon