In 2014, a week after her second son was born prematurely, Ceri Weston was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer*. For five and a half years she fought to raise awareness of the illness that led to her untimely death, at just 40, in June of this year.
Now two of her close friends, Mike and Monica Binning, are donning their trainers and taking on the Great North Run Reimagined on Sunday 13th September. They are running a half marathon, to raise funds for Jigsaw (South East) child bereavement charity, which is supporting Ceri’s husband Gary and her young sons, Austin and Leo.
“We knew Ceri very well because her twin sister Kathy is married to Mike’s cousin, Mark. We’ll always remember her laugh; her love for family and how she maximised every minute she had with her boys, knowing her time was limited,” says Monica. “Ceri was courageous. She fought so hard and didn’t complain, despite the considerable pain and side effects from treatment.”
Mike, 37, and Monica, 35, began running for fitness 11 years ago, and both have completed half marathons in the past however, not in the last five years. With two young children, they have been juggling training, work and childcare.
“We take it in turns every day. One runs for an hour or so, and the other looks after the kids. We have woods and countryside around us, so treks through cow fields, dodging angry-looking bulls keeps the pace up,” Mike jokes.
As it is a virtual run the couple planned their route and have opted for the flattest place they know, which is Mike’s hometown of Clacton-on-Sea in Essex. Monica says nothing will stop them finishing on the day.
“We’re both feeling excited, nervous and hopeful. We know how passionate Ceri was about charity, and how much she raised herself, despite her illness. We know how thankful she would have been and that the money we raise will support a very deserving family that we care about.”
The Binning’s, from Cheshunt in Hertfordshire, both work for Barclays Corporate Bank, who have pledged to fundmatch up to £1000.
You can support Mike and Monica’s run by visiting:
*The pancreas is the large gland, which produces the enzymes needed to digest food and the insulin to control blood sugar. In 2019 Pancreatic cancer was the fourth biggest cause of cancer deaths in women in the UK behind lung, breast and bowel cancers. Those diagnosed have less than a 7% chance of surviving for five years.