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Supporter Lorna Lewis is running the London Marathon in October 2021 to raise money for Kidscan. It was meeting Kidscan ambassador Theo and his family that inspired her to take up the challenge.
Despite a recent injury set back, Lorna has now returned to training. She tells us how, through hard work and a positive outlook, she’s putting her all into preparing for the marathon:
“I officially started the training on the first of March, everything was going brilliantly, a mixture of hit training and different stretches. And then three weeks ago, believe it or not, I was walking the dog, and I pulled the muscle in my leg. It seemed okay. Every day afterwards I did a 5k run and then on the Sunday, I did a half marathon but by the last couple of kilometres, I literally couldn’t lift my leg up. I went to see a physio next day because I was just in horrific pain.
Thankfully, I’d found a fantastic physio who is going to be working on the marathon on the day. So he’s put together a two-week programme for me where I couldn’t run all that time, I did listen to him, and I really stuck to it doing different stretches to basically build the strength back up in my right leg. I managed to do a 3k run this Sunday with no issues at all and I’ve got another 3k run tonight. I’m going to go and see him again tomorrow for another training programme and, six weeks before the marathon, we’re going to look at another programme again. So that he’ll be tailoring it a little bit more for the big day so touch wood hopefully, that is the first and the last injury that I will experience. I’ve never experienced anything like that before. And to be honest with you it really, really scared me because I was like, oh my goodness, this is just crazy. So that’s why I’ve really taken it seriously in terms of listening to him not doing anything that I shouldn’t do.
It’s not just about me turning up on the day, putting my trainers on and running. It’s literally been from the first of March, right up until the day, changing the way that I run, I train, I eat, everything. I’m really taking it all seriously. So, fingers, toes and everything crossed because, it’s a long way to run and I want to feel 1000% confidence on the day, which I was feeling like that. So it’s been a little bit of a knock, but I’m sure I’ll be fine.”
Lorna’s day job is running children’s dance and movement sessions for Jiggy Wrigglers in West Lancashire. So, she has to fit all her training in around busy work and family commitments:
“I’m a mum, I put myself in a lot of other people’s shoes, and it really hit home with me what Kidscan are about. I’m so luckily, I’ve got my Mum who does look after my little girl for me when I’m out running. So, of a weekend, it’s an early run of a morning and before work as I have my children’s groups on a Saturday, so normally by the time I go to work I’ve done a 10k run. I used to go to the gym, now I do a lot of Joe Wicks training but I can do that at home early in the morning. So it’s generally a 5.30 start for me in the morning; train the dog, my training, and then sorting out my child and getting ready for my groups which are really active groups as well.
I think at the end of it, if I didn’t do what I’m doing now, I would always wonder that if I had trained more, or I had done that, would I have been able to do any better on the day? So at least I’ll know, come 3rd October, I have done absolutely everything on every single level that I can do. And yes, made a few sacrifices along the way. I won’t wear high heels on weekends in case I fall over my ankle, it’s literally flat shoes, just in case! So it’s been challenging, it’s been tough but it’s only for the next few months. And like I said, you know, to not go in feeling I’m ready for this, I’m going to do this, that would be even worse. So I can cope with the early mornings. She says!” Lorna has a powerful, personal motivation for doing her very best for this challenge and to raise money for Kidscan:
“Theo (Kidscan Ambassador) one of my friends’ little boys, he was diagnosed with leukaemia. I do children’s music and movement groups and I was asked to do a charity event for him, around Christmas time about four, five years ago now. And to this day, it was the most surreal I think that’s the word, surreal experiences of my life. Because it was Christmas, normally when I’m doing Christmas events and parties, there is Christmas music, we’ve got Christmas puppets, Christmas decorations and themed everything. It’s really colourful and bright, vibrant, it’s all happy and everything. So, I go in and am setting up. Children are having a great time, it was to raise money for the family and raise awareness, and I just remember seeing Theo. He was a little boy, a tiny little boy who was poorly and it hit every single nerve in my body. Even now when I talk about it… because then I remember seeing his mum, the first time I met Kat and I just gave her a hug . Oh my god, as a mum to a mum, I was just like, you are the bravest person in this whole entire world because I couldn’t even imagine what she was going through and then I saw his Nan. I’m really close to my Nan and I’ve still got her thankfully, and it was just no one should be going through this you know; this isn’t normal, this isn’t right. It’s Christmas, everyone’s happy and everything but it was just the two completely different things. I remember doing the session, obviously you put on your face and your smile and you’re bouncing and happy and I think I came out and I must have cried the whole way home. It was just like oh my god. And me having a little girl as well and I remember just coming home and I was just thinking, I can’t imagine and I don’t want to imagine what that feeling is like. Every single penny that I’m raising, every single time I said I’m getting up early, in the grand scheme of things it’s absolutely nothing, you know? It’s a long way to run, but oh my god, if I can raise the money and raise awareness and help one person not have to go through that, then I’ll do everything I can. So yeah, very, very personal.
It’s crazy, because doing my children’s groups as well, it’s amazing how many conversations that you have, and how many people have been affected by illnesses. It really hits home and I think more so because I am a Mum, as well. I’m a soft person, I put myself in the shoes of a lot of people and my hat goes off, full respect for anybody who’s going through that. So, yeah, it’s a very, very personal run as well. And that’s why it’s 100,000 million percent effort going into this on my part, and I’m just amazed and really thankful that Kidscan have asked me to do it. I think it’s an amazing opportunity.”
Lorna’s work with children and their parents gives her a unique insight into how important spreading awareness of children’s cancer is, and how to engage people to donate and support her in doing this:
“Its challenging, I’m in a fortunate position in terms of what I do for a living, as I work with families. So what I wanted to do was to do a big, massive fundraising event and invite all different people and obviously, in terms of restrictions it’s on hold-ish at the moment. I am still looking at doing some events with limited numbers but it’s one of those situations; if we can’t do that, what can we do? We can do this. For example, we did Easter Bunny visits. My mum was the Easter Bunny and we raised just on the visits alone, I think it’s £360. I was aiming for about 10 visits, I would have been happy with that but it was crazy! People booking all the time, which was absolutely amazing. … I can’t just sit there and just keep on asking people for money because what I have been trying to do for anybody who does donate, they are getting something for it as well. My Mum makes cakes, she’s an amazing baker, so we did a raffle over Mother’s Day and the winner won a bouquet of her cupcakes. And I’ve got another raffle now where someone can win a party because I do children’s parties. And everything goes to Kidscan, 100%.”
Lorna is enjoying the different reactions she gets from people when she tells them what she’s up to:
“I get two very mixed emotions; some of the people who see me all the time, they’re just like, what are you doing now? As if your groups aren’t active enough, now you’re doing that as well? And the other people who run as well, they’re in complete and utter awe that I’ve got the opportunity to do this. Someone said to me, ‘Oh, my God, you’re actually going to London to do the marathon?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, when I said, I’m running the London Marathon, I’m actually running the London Marathon and going to London to run the London marathon.’
I’m running the marathon on 3rd October and it’s my birthday just two weeks later so it’s technically starting my birthday celebrations, what a way to start it? I think my family thinks I’m a bit crazy for that. I know my Nan was like ‘it’s a long way to go, you know, you sure you want to do that?’ She said ‘there’s a lot of people there, I’m not going to be able to see you.’ I was like, ‘Well I’ll wave.’ She replied ‘So what I won’t be able to see with all those people’, I said, ‘well just know that I’m waving to you, I’ll be waving. There we go.’ So on the day I’ll be waving to my Nan!” As well as benefitting Kidscan and her own health, training to run the marathon is also having a positive influence on Lorna’s daughter:
“I’ve brought my daughter up with a very positive attitude towards things and she knows that I’m not a runner, I’m not in a running group or anything like that. I just like to run, it’s always been my happy place over the last two/three years, so she’s always known mummy likes to run, mummy likes to train and that is what it is.
When she found out that I was doing this and the reason for me doing it, to raise money and to support sick children (that’s how I explained it to her) and I think it really hit home to her that it’s a massive thing to do and she sees me training. Sometimes on a morning if I’m thinking, I’m going to go for a run now she said, ‘well just don’t, no one will know’. And I’m like, ‘yep, I’ll know’. She sees that now and I’ve seen her doing a few things that she’s done, because she will know now too, so I just see it as a good example to set, how I’m raising her. It’s a massive big challenge but she sees that, and on the day she’s going to be there, she’s coming down. I’ll cry my leg off as I see her but she’s like, ‘mummy’s running the marathon, mummy is running a long way’.
I think she’s secretly proud, she’s only nine but I think the whole experience the whole training and everything behind it, for me as a mum and I think for her, it’s been a really good example. I’m just hoping she sees it as in you want to do anything, you just work hard for it and then you’ll get the results at the end. That’s it. And I always say to her it’s just about being kind, sometimes people might need our help and support in other ways. And if we can do that, brilliant, because even though you’re helping them, it helps you. I always tell her she’s got a beautiful face, but she’s got a beautiful face because she’s got a beautiful heart. This is my heart shining out for everyone on that day because I am hoping everyone does really, really well and I cross the finish line.”
Knowing she’s giving her all now so that she can do her very best on the day, Lorna is still humbled by the challenge she’s undertaken. She’s not taking anything for granted:
“It’s always nice because when you are putting posts up that people see your training, people thinking ‘oh she’s just going for a run or whatever’. It’s important to show everything that’s being done behind it as well. I get so nervous and I am terrified about it but I think once I’m there on the day, I’ll just be like, this is a long way to run for a medal, isn’t it? But you know, I’ll be fine.” All of us at Kidscan are in awe of all your hard work and perseverance Lorna, Theo’s mum Katt sums it up perfectly:
“Lorna is an amazing person with a massive heart of solid gold. After meeting Lorna at the Christmas event for Theo we stayed in touch, she even did Theo’s Birthday party for him and has now become a friend of the family.
When she came to us with her plan of doing the London Marathon for Kidscan because of Theo I cried! To have someone care so much about your little boy and all the other kids going through this journey was just overwhelming, she is just amazing, and her determination is inspiring. Me, Theo and the rest of the family would like to wish her all the luck in the world. We are so proud of her and what she is doing for others, such a selfless act of kindness xxx”
If you’d like to find out more about running the London Marathon, the Manchester half-marathon, a 10k or the Great North Run, to raise money for Kidscan, contact Alison@kidscan.org.uk or read more here.
To follow Lorna’s training journey, you can read further updates here: Lorna’s March to London Marathon.
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