Lisa Hewer was just 16 when her much-loved dad died of bowel cancer.
Now 35, Lisa is planning to put her love of running to the test by completing at least four marathons in 2015 in memory of her father, who served Leighton as a county councillor.
At the same time she is determined to raise £2,500 for the charity Bowel & Cancer Research.
“I guess it takes a special kind of idiot to be coming up with plans like this. But I’m tired of watching people have to fight this awful disease – it’s time to fight back and raise some money for a good cause,” said Lisa, from Saxons Close, Leighton Buzzard.
Her father Frank, a Bedfordshire County Councillor for Brooklands Ward between 1985 and 1989, was diagnosed with bowel cancer when Lisa was 13.
“I had just gone to upper school and my major concerns were my hair, my friends and Take That. Then three years later, on the first day of my GCSE exams, my dad died.
“Dad was a county councillor, a fisherman, husband and all-round good guy. He worked on the railway all his life since leaving school.
“He faced the aftermath of bowel cancer as only he could – with courage and good humour which lasted right up to his last days.
“I’d dreamed of taking on a fundraising challenge in memory of my dad and hadn’t done it. So now is the time before I’m too old or too injured. It’s time to live up the nickname he gave me – Loopy.
“The challenge scares the life out of me and I know it will hurt, but if people can stay strong in the face of cancer, I know I can do this.”
Her mum Janice, who lives in Highfield Road, Leighton Buzzard, is her biggest fan. “I’m very proud of her and I’m sure she’ll do it – she’s very determined,” she said.
The events Lisa has signed up for so far are the Silverstone Half in March 2015, London Marathon in April, Milton Keynes Marathon in May and Edinburgh Marathon in May.
Lisa’s love of running began three years ago. “In my mid-20s I was overweight and out of shape. Then one day I braved the gym, then the treadmill and finally ventured outside for a run – I’ve never looked back,” she said.
Her first marathon was Brighton in 2011 which she calls ‘transformational’.
“I learned that running a marathon is about more than the physical feat. It’s an emotional battle – every time you read another runner’s top and see their loved one’s face smiling back at you, when you remember who is driving you on and see your supporters in the crowd cheering and waving and looking on with pride.”
Since 2011, Lisa, a research manager at the Open University in Milton Keynes, has completed a further four marathons and countless halves.
“I am a runner – it’s what I do, because it keeps me fit, because it’s cheaper than therapy and because I can.”
Choosing to support Bowel & Cancer Research was a simple choice. “If we can help them to help find better treatments and a cure for this disease, my hours of training, miles in the bank and blood, sweat and blisters will be very worthwhile,” she said.
Chief executive of Bowel & Cancer Research, Deborah Gilbert, thanked Lisa for her support. “Bowel cancer affects more than 40,000 people in the UK per year and claims the lives of 16,000. The support of people like Lisa is invaluable if we are to help change those figures and save the lives of people like Frank Hewer,” she said.
Anyone who wants to add to Lisa’s fundraising total can do so at www.justgiving.com/girljustruns or text LGJR96 to 70070 followed by donation amount.