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Grandma inspires marathon challenge for NHS scientist

16 Apr 2019 14:45:58
Laura Lee

A keen runner looking for the challenge of a lifetime will be taking part in the Virgin Money London Marathon to raise funds for the Rotherham Hospital and Community Charity’s Purple Butterfly Appeal.

Since Laura Lee’s Grandma Emily Port passed away aged 88 six years ago, she has been searching for a personal challenge big enough to honour her memory in a spectacular way. Laura will finally be realising her ambition by participating in the world’s biggest road race in the capital on Sunday 28 April 2019.

Laura, of Dinnington, is hoping to raise more than £1,000 for the Purple Butterfly Appeal after her Grandma spent her final days in the Purple Butterfly room on the Fitzwilliam Ward at Rotherham Hospital.

“Since my Grandma passed away in 2013 I have always wanted to raise money for the Purple Butterfly Appeal but I couldn’t decide what to do. I wanted it to be big, challenging and something which shows how much my Grandma and the compassionate care she received means to me and my family,” she said.

“I couldn’t believe my luck when I successfully got a London Marathon ballot place first time.

“I’m determined to do it because the Purple Butterfly room was such a comfort to me and my family during a difficult time. Losing someone you love is a terrible feeling but being in the Purple Butterfly room together as a family is one of my most treasured memories. Although it was sad, it was also beautiful. She saw me arrive into the world and the room meant I could be with her to comfort her when she left. 

“It holds a special place in my heart and it will be an absolute pleasure to take part in the marathon in her memory and for such a wonderful cause. Knowing I’m raising funds to provide the same opportunities for families to be with their loved ones when they need it the most will really spur me on to complete the race. 

“I’m sure it will be incredibly challenging but I know the crowds will cheer me on and I already feel really proud of what I’ve achieved. I know my Grandma would be too. I cannot thank my running buddies, especially Emma and Rachel, enough for all their support.”

Laura, a mum of two and an Advanced Biomedical Scientist at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield, has been training since January 2019.  During her training she has covered more than 400 miles, with an early morning alarm set for 4.45am most weekdays in order to fit the miles in. 

The London Marathon is one of the top six international marathons in the world. Runners begin the 26.2-mile route in Greenwich before heading past iconic sights such as Canary Wharf, London Bridge, Big Ben and Buckingham Palace before heading to the finish line on The Mall.

Barry Mellor, Chair of the Charitable Funds Committee, said: “Taking on a sponsored challenge like the London Marathon can be an exciting and life-changing experience, as well as a rewarding way to raise money for charity. We’re incredibly proud of Laura for the dedication and enthusiasm she has shown for her fundraising and training – she really is an inspiration. 

“It’s also a lovely way for Laura to honour her Grandma’s memory. I hope as many people as possible, whether they are her colleagues, friends, family or members of the public support her fundraising.”

To sponsor Laura’s marathon efforts visit her JustGiving page here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/laura-lee83