The Bloodwise logo. Bloodwise appears in black text against a white background
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I’m running the London Marathon for Lucy, the friend I met finger painting age 3

The Bloodwise logo. Bloodwise appears in black text against a white background
Posted by
09 Apr 2019

Emma and Lucy are best friends. Last year, Lucy received the devastating news she has non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Determined to raise money to fund kinder treatments, Emma is taking on the London Marathon for Bloodwise on 28 April

Emma and Lucy pictured as children

Lucy and I have been inseparable since nursery school

We’ve spent countless hours together over the years, in lessons, playing games, exploring the countryside and, more recently, dancing in sweaty clubs.

I told Lucy she could lean on me

When Lucy was diagnosed, I felt upset and scared. But I didn’t want to share this with her because she’d been so strong. I wanted to put on a brave face and let her know she could lean on me.

I felt so helpless. There was nothing I could do to help her. I don’t live near her, so I’m not able to be there as and when she needs me. Sometimes a text message doesn’t feel enough.

This is one of the main reasons I want to raise money for Bloodwise – it makes me feel that, in some small way I’m helping my friend.

Emma and Lucy pictured in a radio studio

Cancer has made us closer

We speak almost every day. Whether that’s about how she’s feeling that day, the treatment she is having or general chit-chat. We’re part of a close group of friends we’ve known since preschool, and Lucy’s diagnosis brought us all much closer.

Because of her hectic hospital schedule, it’s hard to make plans to meet. Lucy can get very tired, so our plans have to change at the last minute. But we do whatever we can, whenever we can. Whether that’s doing an escape room or going out for a meal; or something more low-key, like snuggling up for a film at home.

She’s the strongest person I know

Lucy went through seven months of chemotherapy and immunotherapy. Sadly, the lymphoma came back quickly and aggressively. Three months later, she began a different type of 'salvage' chemotherapy. It looked like it was doing the trick. But, unfortunately, the cancer has become resistant to chemo.

She’s now waiting to begin a breakthrough type of treatment called CAR-T therapy. This will involve collecting her own immune cells, genetically engineering them to attack the lymphoma and returning them to Lucy’s bloodstream.

I’m so inspired by Lucy’s attitude

Lucy has every right to be upset, angry and scared. But she isn’t. In fact, she’s very level-headed and positive.

Her treatment had been very intense and harsh on her physically and mentally. And it isn’t over yet. She’s passionate about the need to find a kinder cure for blood cancer. This is what inspired me to fundraise for Bloodwise.

She’s very matter of fact. She studied biology and always researches the science behind her treatments. She explains it all to me, which helps me understand what she’s going though.

Cancer may be an awful thing, but it's changed Lucy for the better. She’s able to take on anything. I can’t wait to see what she can achieve when cancer doesn’t dominate her time.

Emma pictured in a Bloodwise running top

I’ve never run a marathon before

The training has been far harder than I ever expected. But the thought of Lucy being so brave going through her chemo keeps me putting one foot in front of the other.

I work for Tesco as a dairy product developer (yes, I eat cheese for a living!). The cheese isn’t helping my training, but what I’ve learnt about nutrition is a huge help.

I eat lots of fruit and veg, carbs for energy, and protein to repair damaged muscles. I’ve been trying to avoid fats. The last thing I want to do is carry around extra weight for 26.2 miles!

Before running, I have something with slow-release energy, like porridge. I’ll then have glucose or caffeine gels on a run to keep my energy levels up.

There are very strict and scary training plans online. I couldn’t find anything I felt I could realistically fit into my life. So I’ve developed my own plan around what feels right.

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Read Lucy’s blog about her experience living with lymphoma

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