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Blog: Why I'm running the London Marathon for Tenovus Cancer Care

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by Carys Jenkins
Corporate Relationship Manager, Tenovus Cancer Care

My Dad has been living with cancer since being diagnosed eight years ago. It developed in his kidneys but has metastasised. It’s incurable, uncontained and it will always be part of his and our lives now. The medication he takes makes him poorly and there’s no guarantee that it even works, but he is resilient and he continues in hope, for all of us. Because that’s what dads do best.

In many ways my Dad is very lucky because he has the emotional and financial support he needs. I know this isn’t the case for so many other people living with cancer though and Tenovus Cancer Care is there for people at some of the worst times in their life. I’ve seen first-hand the impact the charity has on the lives of families affected by cancer and I want to help families like mine get the support they need when facing a cancer diagnosis. 

My sister Lowri and I are running the London Marathon together for Tenovus Cancer Care. Training has gone really well for me, but I’ve been running as a hobby for years. Lowri had only ever run ten kilometres when we signed up and it’s been interesting to see how well she’s able to pick up the miles. Having each other to run with has been great and on our long Sunday runs Mum has cycled alongside us with the snacks and water – it’s been handy not having to carry it ourselves!

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We had a joint target of £4,000 which seemed really scary at first, but with some simple organisation we broke it down to what we’d like to achieve each month and ideas on how to get there. We found it best to be topical and make the most of occasions like Christmas, Valentine’s Day, World Cancer Day and Mothers’ Day.

Birthday games and Easter raffles are great for fundraising. My sister is brilliant at making cakes, so we held cake raffles where the winner got a big celebration cake – we wanted our friends to have something in return for sponsoring us rather than just giving money for nothing. Making our friends and family feel part of the fundraising has helped along the way. Our brother sold raffles tickets in his office, Mum held a coffee morning with her cycling group and my sister-in-law sold cupcakes at her choir. It’s all added up!

Highlights included a ‘Quiz & Chips’ night in a village hall where we teamed up with the local chip shop and sold 70 tickets. Then we asked our friends band to play a gig in Cardiff. The event only cost us £100 to arrange and we sold 100 tickets at £10 each. We raised over £1,000 with donations through the night. 

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I’ve loved having the commitment to training and it’s generally had positive effects on other aspects of my life too – running is great for your mental health, it gives you time to focus, clear your head and have some time to yourself. I’ve spent my Saturday nights at home rather than drinking cocktails which is a small bonus – although whatever I’ve saved on cocktails I’ve spent on decent trainers!

I’m excited about seeing London and meeting the #TeamTenovus runners – who I feel like I already know! I’m looking forward to when shuffle plays me one of my favourite songs to push me along. I’m looking forward to seeing my husband and my little nephew with their hand-made banners and I’m looking forward to seeing Mum and Dad at the finish line.

We’ve worked hard and even though Dad has cancer he hasn’t lost his sense of humour! He’ll still wind us up, telling us we’re not training enough and that there’s no way we can do it but we’ll prove him wrong and make him proud. We’ll be doing it for the sons and daughters who won’t be able to hug their Dad at the end of the race.