A team from Together Housing Group (THG) are hoping to raise hundreds of pounds for good causes by taking part in the biggest half marathon in the world and the largest 10k in Europe.
As official sponsors of the Great North Run in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and the Great Manchester Run, the housing association’s staff healthcare provider Simplyhealth organised a competition for two places at each event.
The winners of the Great North Run places are Ben Saynor, a lettings coordinator based in Wakefield, who’ll be running in aid of Cystic Fibrosis Trust, and Andrew Lymer, an adaptations coordinator, also based in Wakefield, who’ll be running in aid of Pancreatic Cancer UK.
“My cousin has recently been diagnosed with terminal Pancreatic Cancer and is currently receiving chemotherapy to try and extend his life so he can spend more time with his young family,” Lymer said.
“I feel it was important to try and raise awareness and funds, especially in light of the recent death of a much loved Together Housing colleague who recently passed away after battling the same illness.”
Saynor added: “Two people very close to my heart are relying on organ donations. Tragically, bad odds of chromosomes mean that my sister and brother suffer with cystic fibrosis. While it doesn’t have to be a limiting illness, it has hit my siblings hard and continues to threaten my brother’s life.
“My sister has survived 10 years after a double lung transplant. My brother, aged 37, is currently on the waiting list for new lungs. Without this, his chance of survival is slim.
“I am doing this to raise awareness for organ donation, the biggest gift anyone could ever give, as well as raising money for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, who undertake amazing work supporting those affected while also funding cutting edge research.”
He added: “On a lighter note, my wife keeps kindly telling me that I need to shift some weight. We both gained around two stone during pregnancy and following the birth of our daughter but obviously my wife has a better excuse than me.”
Meanwhile, the winners of the Great Manchester Places are Linsey Silson, an income officer based in Halifax, who’ll be running in aid of the mental health charity Papyrus, and Gail Smalley, a tenant liaison officer based in Blackburn, who’ll be running in aid of East Lancashire Hospice.
“Having experience of working with a number of teenagers, I understand the pressures they face in today’s society highlights and the importance of charities like Papyrus, which provides a haven to talk about their pressures on worries and get the support and direction to improve their mental health,” Silson said.
“Mental health is a subject close to my heart as I have close family members who have suffered from mental health issues. It would be great to give my husband the motivation to race this with me after illness, redundancy and bereavement last year. It would help improve his fitness and general wellbeing and give us something as a couple to work towards and focus on.”
Smalley said: “East Lancashire Hospice is a charity close to mine and my family’s heart. I lost my father in law three years ago to cancer, this wasn’t the first time he had been diagnosed with it but was the last time he was able to put up a fight. When he eventually went into the hospice, he was so well looked after before coming home, nothing was ever too much trouble. They looked after my mother in law and extended family with sympathy whilst going through this tough time.”
The Great North Run takes place Sunday, 8 September 2019, while the Great Manchester Run is taking place on Sunday, 19 May. Anyone who wants to support the Together Housing team’s good cause can do so at the links below:
Andrew Lymer, Pancreatic Cancer UK: uk.virginmoneygiving.com/andrew.lymer
Ben Saynor, Cystic Fibrosis Trust: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ben-saynor2
Linsey Silson, Papyrus: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Linsey-greatmanchesterrun
Gail Smalley, East Lancashire Hospice: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/gail-smalley2