A LECTURER from Chester is raising money for a cause close to her heart by running the London Marathon.
Heather Ashcroft, 28, a senior lecturer in community health and wellbeing, is fundraising for leukaemia and lymphoma research as her sister-in-law, Heather Fleet was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) nearly five years ago.
Heather said: “My sister-in-law was diagnosed a couple of months after she turned 30 years of age, nearly five years ago. The median age of diagnosis for CML is astonishingly 50 years of age.
“Although Heather’s blood levels remain stable, the anxiety attached to attending hospital appointments and finding out blood results is still prominent.
“It is always an apprehensive time for all of Heather’s support networks around her.
“Heather’s and my brother Andrew’s lives were turned completely upside down in finding that there was (and still is) a dark, black cloud and question mark around prognosis, which is why I chose to run in the London Marathon 2014.
“I am supporting Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research to raise awareness and help improve the prognosis for people like Heather, who have had had an unfortunate and incomprehensible diagnosis.
“As a senior lecturer in the Department of Community Health and Wellbeing, I hope to inspire and educate students around aspects of health.
“I’m currently completing a PhD as my main professional and personal goal is to benefit others through research, certainly vulnerable groups who are not as fortunate as others in society.”
Heather said she’s proud of her sister-in-law’s determination and courage. She added: “Heather’s unquestionably an inspiration to me since she was diagnosed as she remains positive, living life to the full and never complaining about her illness.
“She has her whole life ahead of her with ambitions and desires that she would like to fulfil in her life.
“I hope to raise as much as possible. Please support all those affected by blood cancers by sponsoring me.
“Training has been very tough – it is physically and emotionally draining! Since September, I’ve run more than 100 miles in all types of weather conditions. I have had some great support from family, friends and colleagues in the Faculty, who have kept me motivated.
“I’m excited and privileged to be running in the London Marathon and although it will be hard, it will be worth it in the end.”
Mrs Fleet is travelling to London to show her support and will proudly cheer her sister-in-law along as she completes the gruelling challenge.
She said: “I’m so proud of my sister-in-law and will be cheering her on from London Bridge.”
To sponsor Heather, visit www.justgiving.com/heather-ashcroft1