Two Kenilworth-born women are aiming to run the London Marathon in memory of their relative who died of lung cancer, despite one of the runners being diagnosed with another form of the disease in the middle of her training.
Sue Goodman, 45, and her niece Christine Rudolf, 35, decided to start training for the race soon after Christine’s mother and Sue’s sister, Annette Ward, died at the age of 55 last September after a four-week battle with lung cancer.
However, Sue had to stop training for eight weeks after she was diagnosed with breast cancer on New Year’s Eve, which left her in disbelief.
She said: “I’m pretty fit - I’m a vegetarian, I don’t smoke or drink and I’ve run the marathon three times. You just don’t think it’s going to happen to you.
“After what happened to Annette, we thought ‘give us a break’. It was hard telling my mum and dad because they were still suffering with the loss of my sister.”
Joy Ward, Sue and Annette’s mother and Christine’s grandmother, said: “When I heard the news I just couldn’t believe it.”
Getting back into training has helped me mentally to face this and be determined to win.Sue Goodman
And Christine’s reaction to Sue’s diagnosis was one of “absolute devastation.”
Sue, mother to Alice, 15, and Ella, 9, underwent two operations, the last of which happened around four weeks ago. She is now awaiting test results determining whether she will have to undergo chemotherapy, which would prevent her from racing.
Whether Sue is able to participate or not, the money she and Christine raise will go towards the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, which researches the disease and provides support to affected families.
If she cannot race on Sunday April 24, Sue said she will be in London to support Christine, and Roy Castle said Sue will be able to run for them in next year’s marathon.
Christine said she found training on her own quite hard during that eight-week period as she relied on her aunt for guidance. She started running as a complete novice unlike her experienced aunt.
She said: “Her support is very important to me, but she was always a lot faster than me anyway, so I’d have always said ‘keep going’ if we ran in the marathon together.
“But I’m still going to run the marathon, I have to. It was never going to be easy with or without Sue.”
Despite everything, Sue remains determined and said that restarting training has helped her face her own disease and focus on raising money and awareness.
She added: “In my head I still think I’m going to run the marathon. It takes such an effort to start digging yourself out of that dark hole but it’s worth it. Getting back into training has helped me mentally to face this and be determined to win.
“Lung cancer kills more people than bowel, prostate and breast cancer combined, and often people like my sister are diagnosed too late. Thus I am passionate in raising money and awareness to help families keep their loved ones with them longer.”
Sue and Christine aim to raise £4,000 for Roy Castle and have managed to raise around £2,800 so far. Anyone wishing to donate should visit annette.ward.muchloved.com