Lancaster volunteer goes extra mile in marathon run in memory of mum and dad
A charity volunteer who lost both her mum and dad to cancer in the last four years is taking on the London Marathon in their memory to raise funds for Macmillan.
Liz Northway, from Lancaster, has signed up to tackle the 41st London Marathon to raise awareness and funds for the charity to support other families affected by cancer.
The 43-year-old sadly lost her mum Jan to breast cancer in 2017, followed by her dad Chris to melanoma just two years later – and they are her inspiration to run the marathon and ‘give something back’ to the charity.
Liz, who has volunteered at Macmillan’s Cancer Information and Support Centre at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary since 2018, said: “I have seen first hand how Macmillan support people and how they really help people through my volunteering. It’s important to me that people get the support they need.
“We were lucky that my mum and dad were able to have time off work and were financially able to support themselves.
"They had us to transport them to appointments and help them at home. However, this is not the case for so many people. Macmillan can be there for them, signposting them to the right people and places.”
Liz first started running in 2018 to help lose some weight but to also help deal with the stress and strain of both parents being ill and having a demanding job, until running eventually took a backseat.
However, she started running again last year – and has already raised more than half her £1,000 fundraising target.
Liz, who also gave up her 18-year teaching career and took a job in retail so she could help care for her parents, but is now back working in a school, added: “Macmillan supported both my mum and dad during their cancer treatment.
"As a way of giving back I became a volunteer at Macmillan’s Information and Support Service at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary. But now I want to give back in a different way.
"That’s why I jumped at the chance to enter the ballot for the marathon and when I got my place and realised that Macmillan were the charity of the year, I couldn’t believe it!
"Hopefully, by taking part in the marathon I can help support Macmillan financially but also raise awareness of what they do and how they can help.”
Macmillan is the official 2021 Virgin Money London Marathon Charity of the Year, which will take place on Sunday October 3, with around 100,000 runners on the traditional course from Greenwich to The Mall.
Lisa Martin, Macmillan’s Senior Fundraising Manager for Lancashire, added: “At Macmillan, we know our work relies on the fundraising of our extraordinary supporters like Liz, who are willing to go that extra mile – or 26 miles in this case - to raise the vital funds that enable our services and healthcare professionals to do whatever it takes to support those affected by cancer.
“Macmillan is working tirelessly to do whatever it takes for people with cancer at a time when disruption caused by Covid-19 means demand for the charity’s services is high, while its income is down.
“Nearly all (98 per cent) of Macmillan’s funding comes directly from donations, so it’s never been more important for people like Liz to run a marathon, host a coffee morning or Brave the Shave, and raise vital funds to ensure Macmillan can continue to deliver the services that people living with cancer desperately need, now and in the future.”
To support Liz’s fundraising efforts go online here.