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Horsham man takes on double marathon challenge in memory of his father

Horsham man takes on double marathon challenge in memory of his father

6 April 2012

A Horsham man is taking on a gruelling double challenge by running two marathons just one week apart, raising funds to help fight the cancer that killed his father.

Oliver Carter and his partner, Louise Baillie, are competing in the Brighton Marathon on 15 April and the London Marathon on 22 April and they’re well on their way to achieving their target of raising £5,000 for the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund (PCRF) in memory of Barry Carter who died suddenly of the disease in November 2010 at the age of 59.

Barry had been in good health until the summer of 2010, walking his dogs and playing for Broadbridge Heath Cricket Club. His death, just ten weeks after his diagnosis, was a terrible shock. “It’s hard to accept that there’s so little treatment for pancreatic cancer, despite Dad being a relatively young and fit person,” says Oliver. “We’ve raised awareness of the disease just by emailing friends and family. Pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rate of all common cancers and that’s why research into the disease is so important.”

Both Oliver and Louise have run marathons in the past, with Louise being the more experienced runner. But running two marathons on consecutive weekends is extremely testing with so little recovery time in between. “To keep asking people for donations we needed to increase the challenge to ourselves,” says Oliver. “We’ve both run Brighton before, but not together. The courses are different – Brighton’s hillier but London’s busier - so both have different challenges aside from the distance. The weather also plays a part - spectators and runners want completely different conditions!”

As Barry’s death came so soon after his diagnosis, Oliver and his family – mum, Geraldine and sister, Olivia – found it difficult to come to terms with the sudden nature of his passing. “We’re a very close family, which helps in these circumstances, but it doesn’t make it any easier to overcome,” he says. Oliver and his family have also held other fund-raising events for PCRF, including a very successful cricket day at Broadbridge Heath Cricket Club in September 2011.

Some 8,000 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year in the UK. It has the worst survival rate of any cancer - three per cent – a figure that has not improved in forty years. Despite being the fifth most common cause of cancer death in the UK, pancreatic cancer receives less than two per cent of overall research funding.

And Oliver and Louise don’t intend to stop there, with an ironman or ultramarathon a target for the future, as Oliver explains: “We recognise that you can’t do a challenge every year for charity, but we hope that running two marathons in a week justifies some sponsorship. Mum, Olivia and I attended the PCRF conference last year and to hear first-hand from researchers about the progress they are making into understanding the disease was encouraging. It’s so deadly and hopefully any money we raise can help the cause just a little bit.”

Donations to Oliver and Louise’s fundraising account can be made at http://www.justgiving.com/Oliver-Carter0

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