Preston North End Community and Education Trust’s Head of Community Engagement Rebecca Robertson is running the London Marathon in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.
Rebecca, in post with PNECET since December 2019, has been a consistent fundraiser for Macmillan for several years, after sadly losing her father to a brain tumour in 2014.
In the lead-up to this year’s event, Rebecca and her family have raised funds for Macmillan with several events, including a pub crawl, participants on the Trust’s NCS programme raising funds with a charity football match, with plans also in place for a Macmillan Coffee Morning and a raffle in the coming weeks.
Rebecca and her family have made it their mission to use their dad’s memory in a positive way, by fundraising for Macmillan with challenging events every year – but following a skydive, fire walk and half marathon in recent times, the full 26.2-mile challenge this time around is expected to be the most difficult fundraiser yet.
Rebecca said: “Macmillan Cancer Support is a charity that’s really close to mine and my family’s heart. My dad passed away seven years ago and we had an amazing Macmillan nurse, Rosemary, who supported us through towards the end of his life
“In 2014, my dad had a brain tumour – he’d had a brain tumour for seven years, so it was a long time – and unfortunately towards the end of that July, my dad was told that he was terminally ill and that the tumour had taken over, and unfortunately, it was time for end-of-life care.
“For anyone who’s been in that place and has seen a parent go through anything like that, I can’t describe how difficult it is. My dad was loud, powerful, outgoing – he was the loudest voice in the room – I wonder where I get it from! To watch someone become such a shadow of themselves because of cancer was really difficult.
“It was a time for me and my family that could have been horrendous, it was the most awful thing that happened to us as a family, but having a charity like Macmillan and having someone like Rosemary being around during those times when we didn’t really know what was happening, somebody being there and being supportive meant the absolute world.
“It’s given me so much passion and enthusiasm to raise money for charities like that because I understand there’s a lot of research going into curing cancer and supporting that scientific aspect, but for me the support when your world is falling down around you is the most important thing.
“I want to be able to support charities like that so they’re supporting families like ourselves, and giving people that extra bit of time with their loved ones before the inevitable happens, because when you look back and that’s all you have left, you’re so grateful for those moments and minutes you have.
“Having them as part of that journey with you just meant we got some extra precious minutes with my dad. I’ll be eternally grateful to have had those last minutes with him.”
Rebecca has also been inspired by her dad’s outgoing personality to fundraise in the most extravagant ways, particularly now, with charities having suffered greatly as a result of the pandemic.
“My dad was pretty similar to me, quite confident, out there and he did a number of different things, he was the one who got me on my first rollercoaster and got me doing all sorts of crazy activities. He taught me that your options are endless and that whatever you put in, you get out.
“When my dad passed we wanted to make sure that rather than getting upset and feeling it was all for nothing, we wanted to leave a lasting legacy.
“It’s been a really tough year-and-a-half for everyone, but especially for charities, like Macmillan, they’ve not had that stream of fundraising.
“The marathon last year was cancelled and done virtually, which quite a lot of people didn’t want to do because it’s hard enough not running however far on your own.
“There are a lot of people that want to raise money for amazing charities, and Macmillan is my charity of choice, because I wouldn’t have got through what happened with my dad if it hadn’t been for the charity.”
To donate to Rebecca’s cause, please visit her fundraising page by clicking here.