It’s Team Verrico’s hero event on Sunday, September 24, the Anna Verrico Half Marathon, which starts and finishes in Epworth Market Place.
For those who are unfamiliar with the Verrico story - Anna was a young mum of two beautiful children who was diagnosed with an early stage breast cancer.
She had a mastectomy and six rounds of chemo. In the middle of the chemotherapy, she decided to run the Isle of Axholme half marathon with family and friends to raise funds to support a researcher into triple negative cancer at the University of Sheffield.
Whilst in remission and training at the ten mile level, she felt a tightening in her chest and believed she had pneumonia.
She carried on preparations and then, two weeks before the event in September 2013, she received the horrific news that the cancer had never actually left, it was in her lungs and she was terminally ill.
In typical Anna spirit she felt obligated to fulfil her pledge; the organisers - Cheryl and Julian Moorhouse - put on a special loop of the town centre especially for her (which became the ‘Fun Run’) and all of the Verrico friends and family turned out in pink from around the country to stand shoulder to shoulder with the local residents to salute the bravery of this remarkable woman.
Over 500 people lined the streets; all records were smashed and over £20,000 raised for Anna’s chosen project.
Anna died just ten weeks later, leaving an 18 month old and a three-year-old child.
Anna’s widow, Paul, took up the baton and the Team Verrico charity was born as her legacy. Now three years old, over £350,000 has been raised in Anna’s name to help families where a parent has cancer.
Paul said: “Some readers will be fighting their own public or private battles with the disease. Others are widowed to it. The reality is that most cancer treatments are medieval, degrading and ineffective.
“The drugs mimic the disease, causing nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting, fatigue. Worst of all, they cause such damage to the immune system that the patient is as likely to die from the treatment as from the cancer itself.”
Team Verrico is best known for providing second opinions and options to cancer sufferers that may not be available on the NHS.
The results are staggering and over 50 families have either had a significant extension on prognosis or are currently cancer free.
So on September 24, if you are a runner, why not lace your trainers, put on the pink vest and enjoy this great local flat race? Entries still available at Metres to Miles.