Local family show their Friendship

Caralyn Robson completed an incredible marathon challenge on the streets around Bangor on Sunday, 20th September, raising £2,000 to support the work of Friends of the Cancer Centre. She was inspired to take on the 26.2 mile challenge by her dad, Willie, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2004 and to make the day even more special, Caralyn completed the marathon two days before her dad’s 70th birthday, with him cycling alongside her giving encouragement and support.

Explaining what inspired her to get her running shoes on, Caralyn said:

“Growing up, my Dad was always there to support myself and my two brothers in whatever way he could. He used to go out running with me and always seemed to be able to motivate me to go that little bit faster and that little bit further, always with a smile on his face. So it was a huge shock when, in 2004, dad was diagnosed with an aggressive form of prostate cancer. Initially he was given five years to live, but now in 2020 he is still supporting all his family in whatever we are doing. Dad’s sheer drive and determination along with the medical expertise and treatment he has received from Professor O’Sullivan and the team at the Cancer Centre in Belfast, is why he is still here today. This is why I wanted to challenge myself and raise funds for Friends of the Cancer Centre.”

This isn’t the first time Caralyn’s family has supported Friends of the Cancer Centre. In 2018, Caralyn completed a half marathon and in 2019, her dad, Willie, abseiled down the Tower Block at Belfast City Hospital, to say thank you for all the care he had received in his battle against cancer.

Caralyn continues:

“2020 was my turn again and this time it was also a personal challenge, as I was recently diagnosed with a neurological condition which affects the sensory nerve in my right leg. Exercise and a positive attitude, which I’m sure I’ve inherited from my dad, has kept me going and will continue to do so. I completed the marathon challenge on the weekend before dad’s 70th birthday and have been completely overwhelmed by the support I have received, from people joining me for parts of the run and sponsoring me. I’ve raised £2,000 and am so grateful for every donation to this amazing charity that has helped not just my Dad, but so many other families.

It has been so special to complete this marathon challenge with dad by my side all the way. He turned up at my house at nine am on Sunday morning, ready to go, with his bike kitted out with sirens. Despite being tired, he stuck by me for four and a half hours, keeping my spirits up and supporting me like he has always done. He is an amazing man who has been incredible throughout everything. I really hope by sharing our story, it will inspire other people to support Friends of the Cancer Centre too.”

Now Caralyn is encouraging other people to show their friendship by getting involved in the charity’s new fundraising challenge, Friendship Five. Simply choose an activity to suit you – walk, run, swim, cycle, jog, row – 5 miles and get five friends, family members or colleagues to take part too while fundraising to support the charity’s vital work.

To get involved now and join the Friendship Five register online HERE or call 07775688291 to receive your virtual fundraising kit.

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