More than 100 runners from County Durham have raised over £12,000 for charity in support of two women who were diagnosed with breast cancer.
Members of Seaham’s two running groups, Seaham Aspiring Ladies (SALs) and Vane Tempest Running Club, completed two huge running challenges, including a mileage accumulator and the 40th Great North Run.
A total of 107 runners collectively ran over 2,000 miles in the summer to raise funds for Maggie’s, a drop-in a cancer centre in the grounds of Newcastle Freeman Hospital.
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The groups came together in support of two of their members, Muriel Ayre and Debbie Cooper, who were both diagnosed with breast cancer last year during unprecedented times.
Muriel, 61, said: "The effort from both running groups has been amazing, it was incredible to see so many people out either running or walking in orange in your hometown and then to complete the Great North Run after such a difficult year was a real highlight.
"The amount that has been raised by this group is astounding. I feel very proud to be part of such a special community.
"Following my cancer diagnosis, I took myself off to Maggie’s across the road and was greeted by their team who sat with me for over an hour listening to my fears. They helped me understand why I was feeling the way I did and that it was normal.
"To know that the money raised will go a long way in helping other people like me who felt a bit lost in what to do makes all of the training and miles worthwhile."
The team turned the town orange, wearing bright coloured tops and fancy dress to complete their miles across the seven days.
In total, the groups raised a staggering £12,789 for Maggies, which provides free support and advice to people with cancer and their family and friends.
And on Wednesday, November 17, members of the two groups gathered in Seaham to officially hand over the cheque to the Maggie’s team.
Debbie, 53, said: "I have taken part in the Great North Run 15 times but this year was definitely my proudest knowing that we had all contributed towards such an amazing fundraising goal.
"Getting to the end of cancer treatment is just the start of rebuilding yourself. 18 months on and my foundations are less shaky but every day has a new challenge.
"Maggie’s does so much to rebuild people and give them love, support compassion and the confidence to move forward so I am really proud to be able to give this fantastic sum of money to them so they can continue such great work in the North East."
Karen Verrill, centre head at Maggie’s Newcastle said: "Together, Muriel, Debbie, and all of the Seaham runners have achieved something incredible. We’re so grateful to everyone involved. Their fundraising will support around 400 visits to Maggie’s.
"Maggie’s is here for everyone affected by cancer, including family and friends. Our frontline team are trained cancer nurses with the time and expertise to listen to people’s worries and guide them to the support or answers they need.
"You can simply walk in. Our doors are open Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm and our kettle is always on.’"
The friendly and inclusive running groups, who are the brainchild of Seaham resident Sally Hall, meet on Seaham seafront, with SALs running every Monday and Wednesday evening and the Vane Tempest Running Club meeting every Saturday morning.
Sally recently won the Community Impact Project Award at the 2021 National Community Fitness Awards, for her efforts in setting up the running groups for the benefit of the local community using physical activity.
For more information about Maggie’s Newcastle visit: www.maggies.org
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