5 July 2021

Why are you running for Ovacome?             

I am raising money in memory of my Nanna for Ovacome, which provides support and information to those affected by ovarian cancer. Sadly, my brothers and I lost our wonderful Nanna, June, to ovarian cancer, after she was diagnosed at stage 4 aged 72. Commonly this cancer goes unnoticed and that is why it is so important to raise awareness for this rarer type of cancer.

I was going to be running my first marathon in April 2020. However, due to the pandemic this has been postponed and I will now be running on Sunday 3 October 2021 (third time lucky!). I have been training since October 2019 and I can't wait to finally run the London marathon for Ovacome, to raise vital funds for this fantastic charity. It is a charity very close to my heart, and I hope that you are able to contribute towards their incredible work.

After multiple visits to the GP and hospital my Nanna was misdiagnosed. When she received the correct diagnosis, it was too late. I lost my Nanna too young. Having brought up my mother as a single, working mum, while working her way up in nursing and midwifery, Nanna really deserved to fulfil her retirement years and see her grandchildren grow up.           

At the time Nanna was diagnosed we knew very little about ovarian cancer and unfortunately were unaware of any support charities. I am very keen to make people aware of the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer, and to make Ovacome known to anyone affected by or diagnosed with ovarian cancer. I have seen the difference a charity like Ovacome can make for those affected by this disease.           

At the end of 2020, I saw that Ovacome were advertising for a role in their communications team. Given my personal connection to ovarian cancer, I was keen to join the team and I am proud to say that I am now working for the charity as Communications and Engagement Officer!             

What do you enjoy about working for the charity? 

I love how varied the projects I've worked on so far have been, from content writing to helping plan and create video content, creating graphics and assisting with the Staying Connected programme. Working within a really nice, supportive and friendly team is so lovely too.             

I had been looking for something more meaningful in my work life and when I saw the job advertisement at Ovacome, it couldn't have come at a better time. Seeing the valuable work the Ovacome team do every day and the impact that their services have on the lives of those diagnosed and their families, I am even more determined to reach my fundraising goal and run the London marathon.             

How long have you been working at Ovacome?

Just over 6 months now, not sure how that happened?! I am really enjoying it. And I'm looking forward to being able to meet the whole team in person (hopefully in the near future). 

How often have you been training?

I try to run at least 3 times a week. I had a knee injury when I was training for the marathon that was supposed to happen last year so I have been seeing a physio and have to do 2-3 days of strength training every week too - to strengthen my lower body and keep the knee going! I've run 787 miles (according to my Garmin and Strava) since beginning my training in October 2019!           

What do you find most difficult?

Getting myself out of the door for the run. Honestly, it's the hardest part every time. I'm very good at putting runs off for hours and hours. Running anything over 15 miles is also pretty difficult! It is just another level. The furthest I've run so far is 20 miles in my training - I won't mention the state of my toenails afterwards!             

I also find it difficult to prepare food wise and making sure I'm taking on enough liquids before and during long runs. Hopefully, I can get better at it this time round.          

What do you like most about running? 

Time to reflect, time to myself, the 'runners high' - I didn't think this was a thing, but I have discovered it is definitely a thing, once you are in the running groove! I love listening to my music whilst running too, it helps to keep me going.            

Before I began training for the London, I didn't really run long distance as much as I do now (apart from a few half marathons). Now I'm spending a lot more time running to achieve this goal and run in memory of my Nanna, I think about my her a lot, our memories together, things that she has missed out on and imagine what she would be getting up to.          

What do you like to do in your spare time?

When I'm not busy training for the London marathon, I'm planning for my wedding. I got engaged in December last year, a few days after finding out I had got the job at Ovacome. So it was a pretty amazing week for me! It was so lovely to share good news after a difficult year for everyone. 

Any spare time I have I paint and make art, I've just completed a painting commission. I find it very relaxing and I love making time to get creative.

How have you fundraised for the marathon so far?

Before lockdown one, I'd planned an event at my local gym, they have an event space, a bar and outdoor balcony. I'm hoping I might still be able to do this at some point, but it's proving tricky to set a date and plan for events at the moment. I also had started planning a raffle for this, so I might take the raffle online over the summer and hope lots of people are able to take part online. Luckily before lockdown I had done a few fundraising events which involved lots of baking!

If you would like to donate to Holly’s London marathon page, click here.