Two brave parents are to take part in this year’s London Marathon in memory of their children.
Kate Lawton, 39, from Banham, and Kevin Cook, 47, from Gislingham, will run the marathon on April 22.
Kate, who is a doctor at The Lawns Practice at Diss Health Centre, on Mount Street, will run in memory of her stepdaughter, Sonia, who died in 2013, aged 23, after a life-long battle with cystic fibrosis. Kate will be raising money for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.
Kevin, an engineer at Rickinghall-based Malthouse Security, will be running in memory of his son, Jack, who died in 2015, aged 18, after a five-year battle with cancer.
He will be running on behalf of the Teenage Cancer Trust. Both have set a target of £3,000.
“I only found out a week ago that I would be part of the trust’s team, as someone dropped out,” said Kate. “I am both scared and excited.
“I once ran a half-marathon years ago, but never a distance like this. I am just putting in as much training as I can during the evenings and weekends, around my work.
“My stepdaughter, Sonia, who I knew from the age of nine, was the most beautiful young woman.
“It wasn’t easy for her living with the daily routine of medication and treatment.
“She was just amazing and didn’t let her illness stand in her way.
“I am hoping to raise as much money as possible to fund further research into cystic fibrosis and also help support families who are living with the condition.”
Kevin, who has two other children, Steve, 19, and stepdaughter Mia, 18, is equally nervous.
“I know this marathon will be an emotional event for me,” he said.
“I am running in memory of my son and I can almost hear him saying: ‘You are going to do what?’
“He was a very popular lad and we still miss him dearly
“My name will be on the front of my running top and his name will be on the back.
“My wife, Julie, hopes to be at the finish line with the charity.”
Both parents have already raised thousands for their chosen charities.
Kate has raised around £8,000 after holding a charity auction in 2014, and other fundraising activities.
Kevin has raised nearly £3,000 from fundraising events, including a charity quiz earlier this year.
Kate’s husband Peter, Sonia’s father, and their three sons Richard, 21, Aaron, 17, and Callum, 15, will also be at the finish line.
Sonia was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when she was just eight-weeks-old. A former pupil at Wymondham High School, she went on to train in beauty therapy before working in administration for Lotus Cars.
Jack, a former pupil at Stradbroke High School, was diagnosed with cancer after he became ill on a family holiday in America, when he was 13-years-old.
Kate’s colleagues at the Lawns Practice are already planning fundraising activities.
Clare Horton, nurse practitioner, said: “We all think Kate is amazing to undertake this challenge.
“She has dedication and the determination and this an incredible opportunity to raise money and awareness for a cause that is so close to Kate and her family’s heart.
“All of her colleagues at The Lawns are one per cent behind her, extremely proud and we will do all we can to support her in the run-up.”
Kevin’s employers, Malthouse Security, recently nominated the Teenage Cancer Trust as its charity of the year.
Peter George, owner of Malthouse Security, said: “The loss of Jack was a tragedy that was felt by all of us.
“We think it is admirable that Kevin, who admits he is not a natural runner, is giving up so much time and effort to run the gruelling 26.2-mile race.”
To donate to Kevin’s cause, go to https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/kevinandjackcook
To donate to Kate’s cause, go to www.everydayhero.com and search Dr Kate