A Shutford woman is preparing to take on her first London Marathon on Sunday to celebrate 10 years of remission from blood cancer.
Zoe Monahan has already raised more than £3,000 for the charity Bloodwise.
“I never considered doing the London Marathon before I entered on a whim last year. I am not a natural runner,” she said.
“I had deep vein thrombosis when I was receiving chemo, which makes my left leg slightly lag behind the right.
“I am worried that without my running partner – Flash the Labrador – I won’t be able to make it up the hills!
“Training throughout the last few months has been hard and the weather has not been on my side!
“Weeks of snow, sleet, driving rain and freezing temperatures have had me worried that I would not be ready.
“I am determined to finish - I am not doing it for a time, I am doing it to raise as much money as I can.”
Zoe was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at the age of 28 and underwent chemotherapy followed by a stem cell transplant.
As the treatment lowers patients’ chances of conceiving, Zoe chose to freeze her embryos before starting treatment but no eggs were produced and the procedure could not go ahead.
Six months after getting married in December 2009, Zoe and her husband Richard received the wonderful surprise she was pregnant, and ten months after the birth of their daughter, Georgia, Zoe became pregnant again with their son Henry.
Zoe said: “We feel incredibly lucky to have our children in our lives and I can’t wait to see them on the finish line.
“Richard could have walked away when I was diagnosed – we had only been going out for six months – but he stood by me and never let me feel sorry for myself.
“Although I never see myself as safe and I am always slightly on edge with the question of ‘what if it comes back’, I am one of the fortunate ones who has made it this far.
“My experience of blood cancer is not something I shout about, in fact I hate talking about it, but I am making an exception as I want to raise as much money as possible for an amazing charity that is very close to my heart.
“Bloodwise does tremendous work through its constant research into new treatments and support services, during the treatment process and also for life after cancer, which is something that people don’t always think about.
“The psychological effects can last years, if not forever, without help.”
To support Zoe’s cause, visit her fundraising page: uk.virginmoneygiving.com/zoe-monahan-marathon.