A Cuckfield man is set to run 26 miles in memory of a popular Mid Sussex piano teacher who taught him for 14 years.
Joe Ward, 24, and his girlfriend Sophie Paulson, 21, will take on the New Forest Marathon on Sunday September 11 to raise funds for the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity who were critical in helping teacher Diana Carey during her long and courageous battle with lung cancer.
Joe, who started lessons with Diana aged seven, said: “When Diana passed away the world lost a truly remarkable, loving person. But, although she is not with us today, her positive attitude and courage live on in the people that she inspired. We are honoured to run in her memory.”
Following diagnosis in 2011, Diana - who worked with many students in her home and at Handcross School - courageously fought her aggressive cancer for four years before her death in August 2015.
During this time, with the help of cutting edge treatments and an ‘incredible attitude’, she massively exceeded all doctors’ predictions.
Joe added: “She was placed on a number of pioneering trials that helped to keep the spread of cancer under control for much longer than expected.
“These extra years gave Di the opportunity to go on multiple family holidays, celebrate her 60th birthday and see one of her daughters walk down the aisle - priceless experiences made possible by the work, care and support of the Royal Marsden.
“Despite facing a challenge that very few of us could begin to imagine, Diana never stopped caring for others - organising concerts in support of local charities and working tirelessly to mentor her students through their exams, all whilst receiving treatment and coping with the side effects of strong trial drugs,” he added.
Staged in the heart of the New Forest National Park, the mixed terrain course winds through the gravel forest paths and towns, supported, by cheery locals and forest wildlife. Despite the scenic setting, this is a gruelling race of 26.2 miles, scaling inclines of over 900ft.
Joe added: “Having previously only run a maximum of 10 miles, there is no doubt that this will be our toughest challenge yet; a combined 800 miles of training now stand between us and the start line.”
For more information or to donate visit http://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/NewForestMarathon4Roy alMarsden