BREAST Cancer Now leader Lynn Parfrey took on the Great North Run this weekend in her first ever run as part of her ongoing commitment to the dying words of friend Shirley Garman (corr).

The 58-year-old of Haydon Wick first met the former leader of the Swindon group of Breakthrough Breast Cancer when she began fundraising for the charity, and on her death-bed Shirley asked Lynn and her husband Paul to take on the mantle of running the campaign.

On September 13, Lynn took on the 13.1 mile challenge in her memory, despite suffering with Morton’s Neuroma, which causes excruciating pain in her feet.

“I’m not brave,” said Lynn. “The people that go through breast any form of cancer it are the brave ones. What they’re going through, everyone suffers through it whether it’s breast cancer or any other cancer. They’re the brave ones.

“It’s affected so many people in Swindon, you can speak to anyone and someone, somewhere, knows someone affected by breast cancer.

"I’m not getting any younger and I just want to do something different to do what I can.”

Shirley was Lynn’s first inspiration for getting involved with raising money for Breakthrough Breast Cancer – now Breast cancer Now – when they met around 12 years ago.

“I got involved with this charity back in 2008 when it was previously Breakthrough Breast Cancer prior to the merger with Breast Cancer Campaign in April and have continued to be passionate about the fantastic work being continued by Breast Cancer Now,” she said.

“I started walking with a group of people and we did the Moonwalk, and that’s when I met Shirley,” said Lynn.

“She said I should come and join the committee, and that’s when I started fundraising.”

Shirley died in 2009 just 10 weeks after discovering a cancerous brain tumour, which she’d been having treated for a year with chemotherapy and radiotherapy, had begun to grow.

“I went to see Shirley and she said she wanted Paul and I to carry on the group after she had gone,” said Lynn.

“I said I wasn’t sure, that there were so many other people who had been doing it for longer, but she said ‘we need people like you and Paul to carry it on’."

“Her last wish was for the group to raise £1 million for Breast Cancer. So to try and fulfil her wish, I have been fundraising through various events since 2008 when she died and I took over as the head of the group with my husband Paul.”

Although Lynn is a keen walker, volunteering as a Lead Walker for the Swindon Borough Council Health Walks every Friday from the Pinehurst Community Centre and taking out a walking group every Wednesday evening for the Swindon Twin Peaks, she has never taken part in a run before.

“I won’t be able to run all of it but I am planning to complete it in three hours,” she said.

“This event will be a personal challenge as I walk a lot but have never taken part in a running event, let along over 13.1 miles.

“I’ve never done any running before.

“I haven’t really thought about it too much, I know it will get to the morning though and I’ll be lining up and I’ll just thinking ‘oh my God what have I done’."

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