The 40th London Marathon is particularly special for runner Samantha Collins as it coincides with her tenth wedding anniversary.
It is also poignant because she will be running the 26.2 mile route to raise money for Leukaemia Care UK a cause she holds close to her heart as her husband Andy has Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia.
Samantha, from Thornton Heath (pictured), who is training with the Crystal Palace Runners is trying to raise awareness but also raise funds for the charity and is also holding a black tie charity event at Crystal Palace Football Club on Saturday March 21.
She said: “This will be my second London Marathon but my first one was way back in 2006, so a huge gap of 14 years.
“I was encouraging a friend of mine to enter for this year’s marathon and then I found myself filling out the online form.
“I thought ‘why not?’ I always said I would like to do it one more time and this year is a special one as it is the 40th London Marathon and will also be my 10th wedding anniversary year.
“I am so happy to be offered a charity place with Leukaemia Care UK charity as it does mean a lot to me.”
In July 2016 Samantha’s husband Andy was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia (CML). He was due to have an operation and had to have a pre-op blood test which then showed he may possibly have CML .
He was called at work and told to go straight to GP to discuss his results.
Samantha said: “It was a huge shock for us and our world changed overnight. It came at a time when we had only just lost his mum two months before who had a different cancer.
“He had to have a bone marrow biopsy to see how bad it was and what treatment to have every week we had to attend hospital for tests and monitoring. We now attend every three months and his treatment is a chemotherapy tablet which he takes daily and still does.
“We feel very lucky that he is still here and that it was caught early enough. After diagnosis Andy did admit he hadn’t been feeling himself for quite a while before but he just kept putting it down to other things.”
Samantha added: “I would like to raise as much as I can for Leukaemia Care UK because they give amazing support to anyone affected by blood cancer and their families and carers.”
Guest speaker at the black tie event Delroy Anglin (pictured left), also from Croydon who features in the the Channel 5 TV show Can’t Pay We’ll Take It Away, will share his own personal story about his own journey with Leukaemia.
Paul Bohill (pictured below) also from the show which follows a group of bailiffs carrying out High Court Enforcement Orders across the UK, is a close friend who has supported Delroy through his battle and will also be attending.
The event includes a drinks reception, three course meal and wine, licensed bar, entertainment, raffle, photography and much more. Tickets cost £60 per person.
Samantha added: “It would be great having the community coming together and enjoying a lovely evening and raising money at the same time.”
To sponsor or book a ticket: www.justgiving.com/SJ-Collins2