Emma Dunks is putting herself through her paces for her first ever London Marathon effort to raise money for CLIC Sargent after her family was supported by the charity during her sister Shannon's cancer treatment.
Shannon received the shock diagnosis in 2010 whilst studying at Whitgift School, Grimsby. At the time, Shannon was being treated for tonsillitis but wasn’t getting any better so concerned doctors took a blood test which lead to the teenager being diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia.
Shannon underwent treatments including chemotherapy but sadly died on 14 November two-and-a-half-years after her diagnosis.
Emma said: "Shannon endured gruelling treatment but whilst going through all of this she continued to smile, crack jokes and have as much fun as she could. Shannon was loved by all who knew her and was a true fighter.
Support from CLIC Sargent
“The charity supported my mum and step dad, providing a lot of emotional and financial support.
"We had a CLIC Sargent support worker who would come to visit the family and make sure everything was OK which made a big difference.
"They also organised a bereavement holiday for mum and our step-dad, Shannon got to meet her favourite band JLS and also went sailing with the Ellen McArthur Trust on the Isle of Wight.
"A family sailing trip was also organised, which was loved by all. It gave the family the opportunity to make some amazing memories with Shannon.”
Taking on the London Marathon
“I watch the marathon every year and always think it looked amazing so it was definitely on my bucket list. The most I’ve run before is 5-10k though, so this going to be a huge challenge. I’m feeling nervous but the charity is really close to our hearts and I’m determined to give something back.
“Training is going steady but when it’s tough or my legs are tired I just think of Shannon and all the battles she faced and this is nothing compared to that.”
Fancy dress bake sale
To help raise money for her effort Emma is hosting a fancy dress bake sale at work and ran her longest training run at her local gym at Immingham Swimming Pool on 28 March on a treadmill in the reception.
She said: “I want to raise as much money as possible because cancer really turns families’ lives upside down and I want CLIC Sargent to be there to support everyone who needs it.”
This big challenge Emma is taking on will make a massive difference for young people with cancer by helping us ensure they are getting the right support they need.
Find out more
You can support Emma with her fundraising by visiting her official JustGiving page.