Very sadly, in March this year, Vaughan Illingworth’s sister Sarah died after living with breast cancer for 17 years. Before she died, Sarah and her husband John decided with Vaughan, 51, from Bramley in Hampshire, to chose the Race to the Stones Challenge to raise money for Dimbleby Cancer Care, which supported her in the latter stages of her illness.
Vaughan said: “Sarah and John should have been celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary last month so we decided that I should do something “really silly” to mark it and raise funds for Dimbleby Cancer Care. We have badgered friends, family, customers, companies, via mail, Facebook, LinkedIn and whatever ways we could to get support, and people’s generosity has been outstanding.
“Sarah was treated in Guy’s Hospital where the charity provided her and John with counselling. She often told me how despite being severely limited by her cancer, Dimbleby Cancer Care was her lifeline. In her own words, the support they gave her reached beyond the physical and beyond the patient. The counseling they gave her literally kept her sane but just as important is that they counseled John in his own right and to his own needs as the “silent partner” in the process and continue to do so. It was a great comfort to her to know that Dimbleby would also be there for John after she had gone. She was very keen on me doing something ‘mad’ for her and raising money for this wonderful charity so that they could carry on their support for many others until this cruel, indiscriminate disease is eradicated. It was a tough challenge but I did it and I knew she was with me every step of the way seeing me through in just over 16 hours.”
Race to the Stone is a 100km ultra marathon, on the 15th and 16th July, along the Ridgeway, Britain’s oldest long distance path. The route finishes at the monolithic standing sarsens at Avebury in Wiltshire, which form one of Europe’s largest Neolithic monuments. Vaughan, Sarah and John had hoped to raise £100 for every mile he completed but so far has doubled that and has raised just over £12,600.
All the money raised will go towards the charity’s ‘Care for the Future’ appeal, which aims to raise £500,000 by the end of 2016 so that it can continue and expand its work within the cancer community.
Robin Pritchard, Director at Dimbleby Cancer Care added: “When Vaughan first got in touch with us we were deeply moved by his and Sarah’s story, and then very sadly a few weeks later Sarah died. The extraordinary fundraising that he has since achieved is a huge testament to Sarah’s legacy and we have been very touched to see all the messages of support that have come through. People like Sarah, John and Vaughan are what our work is all about – that we can help those living with cancer and those who are left behind. We are so grateful to everyone who has donated.”
You can support Vaughan at http://www.justgiving.com/Vaughan-Illingworth