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Follow Sarah's lead and return Race for Life money
4:40pm Wednesday 14th August 2013 in News
SARAH Parker came over the finish line last at Race for Life in Southampton – and her parents could not be more proud.
For Sarah, who is confined to a wheelchair, painfully pushed herself around most of the route on one of the hottest days of the year.
Mum, Diane, who walked the course with her, said: “Sarah has always got to take on challenges that push her!
“And if she is raising money, she has to feel she is really doing something to earn it. Her dad and I are very proud of her. We always have been”.
It took Sarah, who suffers from cerebral palsy, over two hours to complete the 5k and her hands, which were blistered and scarred, are just beginning to feel normal again.
Despite finishing last, the volunteer charity worker from Millbrook is one of the fastest to return all her sponsorship money – and she is encouraging others to ensure they return theirs.
She said: “Everybody knows someone who has cancer and I am no exception.
Sarah tookpart for herdad, Colin Mathews, 59, from Lordshill, Southampton, who is a cancer survivor.
He was diagnosed with duodenal cancer several years ago.
Sarah said: “It was a nerve racking time.
He needed blood transfusions and very intensive treatment. He was so ill we thought we would lose him but the doctors saved him.
“His recovery took a long time, but he is doing well now. He has regular c h e ck-ups.
The cancer has gonebut he has some side effects he has to live with”.
Thirty-six-year-old Sarah lost two grandparents to cancer at a young age and she knows many families who have been affected.
“This is the second time I have taken part in Race for Life in a wheelchair and come over the finish line last. This time it was more difficult because of the heat. I normally use a power chair, so I had to get used to wheeling myself manually. It was tough.”
She has struck up a friendship with Oliver Northover, the event’s back marker.
Sarah, who had to start relying on a wheelchair permanently about two years ago, said: “Oli and I have chatted on the way round both times. I am not sure we will be meeting again, though, as I think twice may be enough!”
Sarah got some help from her mum and a friend, Romana Henry, who lost her dad to cancer. But she did most of it herself, including the last 200 yards to the finish line where she received huge applause.
Diane said: “This is just the latest of many challenges Sarah faced throughout her life.
“She has done, and achieved, so much. She always thinks of others first. She did 95 per cent of the 5k herself.
“She constantly had to be careful to keep the chair on level ground and the hills were particularly difficult. But she did it”.
Sarah said: “I told the people who sponsored me I would push as much as I could and I feel I did that”.
Now Rachel Northover, the event manager, is urging everyone who took part to follow Sarah’s lead to fund vital research into 200 types of cancer.
She said: “I am asking everyone to take one last step – by returning the money they’ve raised so it can go into vital research to help more men, women and children survive cancer.
“Many people don’t realise that their entry fee only covers the cost of staging the event. It’s the sponsorship money that really makes a difference.
“It can be paid in online, by phone or by cheque.”
Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life in partnership with Tesco is an inspiring women-only series of events which raises millions of pounds every year to help defeat cancer by funding life-saving research.
To enter or return sponsorship visit raceforlife.org or call 0845 600 6050.
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