Carolyn McAlpine, aged 30 from Tarbert knows only too well the devastating effects cancer can have on family life as she has not only lost her aunt to this disease but her beloved father as well.
In 2007 Carolyn and her family had to come to terms with her father’s diagnosis of Hodgkin Lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system. Shortly after his diagnosis, Carolyn’s father was transferred to the Beatson in Glasgow where he received treatment for his condition. With Tarbert being more than 100 miles away from Glasgow this was quite a distance, however the family couldn’t bear the thought of him being at hospital alone and frequently drove the journey to be with their father.
Sadly he lost his battle with cancer in February 2010 aged 62, although during his fight with the illness he vowed to give up smoking to improve his health. As a heavy smoker for most of his life this was quite a challenge. Carolyn joked that if he managed to quit smoking she would run the London Marathon not quite believing she ever would need to.
Determination set in and her father gave up his cigarettes leaving Carolyn to look out her running shoes. However, as her father’s health began to deteriorate the marathon was put on the back-burner.
When the London Marathon was broadcast on TV in the April following her father’s death Carolyn felt it was something she wanted to do in his memory so she decided to sign up for the run and completed the 26.2 mile course in April 2011.
During her training, Carolyn’s world was once again turned upside down when her father’s sister, Cate was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She was also transferred to the Beatson and the family set out again on the 100 mile trip to visit their aunt.
The Beatson became part of Carolyn’s life for five years while her father and aunt Cate underwent treatment. Her aunt in particular found the Beatson Cancer Charity's wellbeing centre a welcome escape from the boredom of the ward. She visited the centre regularly and enjoyed relaxing treatments such as massages and manicures.
Carolyn’s family felt more at ease leaving their aunt somewhere where they knew she was being well cared for. Her aunt also took great comfort in being able to spend time with people who were going through the same experience and was grateful for the chance to get away from the ward and feel more like herself again.
Carolyn felt that she really owed the centre and said: “Despite it being one of the hardest times of my life, the Beatson Cancer Charity helped make the experience a great deal more bearable.”
The doctors and nurses at the Beatson as well as the facilities are among the best in the UK which Carolyn would hate to see diminish due to lack of funding. With this in mind, she has made it her mission to continuously raise money for the charity.
After thinking long and hard about what she could do, Carolyn decided that she would run the 100 miles home to Tarbert from the hospital. After all, she had already completed a marathon and wanted to take it to the next level! This feat was made even more difficult as Carolyn is not an experienced runner so the training was a real challenge but she enlisted the help of her close friend to help her along the way.
During her training, Carolyn suffered a major set-back as she was unexpectedly diagnosed with a chronic bowel condition which put a temporary halt to her running regime. At this point she had already raised over £5,000 but Carolyn was determined that she would complete the run despite not being in the best of health.
In the end Carolyn ran the 100 miles from the Beatson, home to Tarbert over three days and raised an astounding £14,500 for the charity.
Carolyn is a true inspiration and is already planning her next big fundraising event and hopes to once again push herself to the limit to raise as much funds as she can for the Beatson Cancer Charity. If you'd like to set yourself a unique challenge, or sign up to one of our events please e-mail or click here!