As always, applications for the London Marathon came in thick and fast here at Daisy’s Dream for the 2019 marathon and we had a really tricky job picking a team from the long list of worthy runners.

Each of our golden bond place runners this year had incredibly personal motivations for taking part, and they have kindly agreed to let us share their stories.

Edwina Gudgeon

Edwina is a London Marathon second timer… already completing the race in 2018 (in that searing heat!) for another charity.  Desperate to improve on her time from last year, Edwina applied to us for 2019 in the hope that she could run again in memory of her sister Alice.

When Alice was given a terminal cancer diagnosis in January 2010, Daisy’s Dream supported both of their two families and Edwina wanted to raise money for us to recognise how grateful they were for our support.

Straight off the back of her marathon last year, Edwina has had to work really hard to fundraise for us this year, but her star event ‘A Night with The Rockitts’ on 8th December was a real boost raising over £1,300.

Read more about Edwina’s story and see how much she has raised so far here.

Grace Massarella

Grace applied to run for Daisy’s Dream in memory of her dear friend Paul Wilson, who died in May 2017 of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Grace saw first-hand just what a difference our support made to Paul’s four daughters and was inspired to raise as much money as she could for our work.

Grace is a regular runner, and has completed Reading Half Marathon in the past, but London will be her first ever marathon. She decided to run this year to mark her 40th birthday in the summer!

On 23rd March, Grace organised a Quiz Night as her main fundraising event, which raised an overwhelming £3,055. She also has a dress down day planned on Friday 26th April at the school where she works. All pupils and staff will be dressed in their sportiest get-up and will each be donating to Daisy’s Dream.

To read more about Grace’s story and see how much she has raised so far, click here.

Melissa Jurasek

A keen runner, Melissa has taken part in 4 Reading Half Marathons in recent years (including the one in 2019!), but London 2019 will be her first full marathon. Applying for a place just two weeks after her sister Charlotte died in April 2018, Melissa knew straight away that she wanted to do something to support Daisy’s Dream in recognition of the support we had been giving her niece Lilly, who was just 8 years old at the time.

Melissa has been fighting niggling injuries throughout her training and was concerned at one point that she might need to defer her place. Hours of physical therapy later though, and she has been given the all clear to take part in the race.

All along Melissa has been relying on sponsorship from friends, family and colleagues to reach her fundraising target, and she was delighted when she passed the £1,850 line a couple of weeks ago.

To read more about Melissa’s story and see how much she has raised, click here.

Nikki Mills

Nikki doesn’t like running. That’s one of the first things she told us when we met up as a team back in January of this year; she doesn’t like running and she doesn’t think she’s very good at it! We all begged to differ when she casually mentioned that she was already running 18 mile training runs, some 4 months before race day…

Nikki signed up to the marathon having been inspired by a former work colleague, who ran in a previous Daisy’s Dream marathon team. Running in memory of her mum Jackie, who died of cancer in April 2010, Nikki wanted to raise money for Daisy’s Dream so that we could support children and young people who were facing similar circumstances. Jackie was poorly for two years before she died, and Nikki talks of how beneficial a service like ours would have been to her and her family, had they known about us at the time.

Nikki has been working tirelessly over the last few months to raise sponsorship for Daisy’s Dream from friends and family, raising money both online and the old-fashioned way with a collecting tin.

To read more about Nikki’s story and to see how much she has raised so far, click here.

Sara Richardson

Sara is a long standing supporter of Daisy’s Dream, having used our service when her dad David died twenty years ago. Back before we offered the 1:1 outreach sessions to children as we do now, our support was mainly delivered through ‘camps’- group therapeutic events that were designed to help children express and explore their feelings of grief in an engaging way. Sara talks fondly of the salt memory jar that she remembers making, and how she was able to make friends with other children who were facing similar circumstances.

When Sara applied for this marathon place, she had never run before… but we knew that she was determined to do it and so we happily gave her a place. Since then, Sara has battled with a three month chest infection over the winter, completed 9 competitive races and has doggedly worked her way to being race ready in time. We are tired just thinking about it!

Sara’s fundraising has been bolstered by her fantastic baking skills, with colleagues flocking to buy her cakes. She has also secured a pledge of £2,000 from her company as a donation for taking part.

To read more about Sara’s story and see how much she has raised so far, click here.

Lawrence Renny

Finally successful in securing a ballot place (after 10 years with no success!), Lawrence is this year's only 'own place' runner on our team. 

Lawrence has never run a marathon before, in fact he has only ever taken part in one race and that was a half marathon just four weeks ago! Determined that he could use his success in the ballot to raise money for a local charity, Lawrence turned to his girlfriend for suggestions. A colleague of hers has used Daisy's Dream for support in the past and Lawrence knew straight away that we were the charity for him.

To read more about Lawrence's story and to see how much he has raised so far, click here.

Places for the 2020 London Marathon will be available shortly after this year's event has taken place. Watch this space for more details!