This cancer can’t take my Mum and Grandma and get away with it

I'm Lucy, and it's my third Great North Run this year. It's a big challenge - but I'm determined to take it on. Because pancreatic cancer has hit my family hard .... not just once, but two times.

Guest author

In July 2016 my amazing Grandma was diagnosed with this awful disease. I’m embarrassed to say that I hadn’t even heard of pancreatic cancer until then. It’s not a cancer that gets the recognition it deserves. The statistics are so awful. Unfortunately, my beautiful Grandma passed away that October. So I decided to sign up for the Great North Run the following year to honour her memory.

Running my first ever Great North Run in 2017 was amazing. I didn’t know what to expect, but nothing prepares you for the feeling of crowds full of strangers shouting your name or handing out ice pops and jelly babies to keep you going! Then actually crossing that finish line I can honestly say is one of the best feelings ever, because you’ve done it – you’ve just run 13.1 miles.

I loved it that much, I decided to sign up to become a Great North Run member – choosing to run for Pancreatic Cancer UK for the next 3 years to honour my Grandma’s memory, and try and raise more awareness for this horrible disease.

I’d already reserved my place and was training for my second Great North Run when the worst thing imaginable happened. My beautiful Mum was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in May 2018. What makes it even worse was the fact that my Mum wasn’t blood-related to my Grandma who passed away, my Grandma was my Dad’s Mum. It was just a horrible, devastating coincidence.

My whole family tried to remain positive, even though we knew all too well the awful statistics with this cancer, having watched our lovely Grandma battle this less than two years earlier. But watching my Mum deteriorate every day in front of my eyes, and not being able to do anything to help her, was the most horrendous thing in the world. Mum passed away on 1st September 2018, a day before her 54th birthday, and eight days before my second Great North Run.

I ran my second Great North Run alongside my little sister and my cousin – and we ran for Mum.

It was harder this time – I hadn’t trained half as much as I had the year previously. But the crowds and the people on the day got me through it. There’s just no words to describe it. I’d put a photo of my Mum on the back of my vest, and the amount of runners who stopped and said ‘well done’ to me was amazing.

Crossing that finish line last year was extra emotional.

And I’m running again this year. This time I’m dedicating it to both my beautiful Mum and Grandma. There really does need to be more recognition of this disease and this charity is working so hard to change this and the awful statistics that comes with it.

This cancer can’t take my Mum and Grandma and get away with it.

If you have a ballot space and are looking for a charity to run for, choose to run for Pancreatic Cancer UK so we can raise more awareness and make a difference.