A MUM-of-two with incurable cancer has set her sights on raising £1m for charity.
Lisa Stephenson, 44, was diagnosed with myeloma – a cancer of the plasma cells in the bone marrow – two years ago.
But despite months of gruelling treatment, bouts of pneumonia and regular hospital stays, she has already raised an incredible £300,000 for Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres in a little over a year.
Now, the brave mum of Ellie, 16, and Joe, ten, from Ravelston, has set herself the seven-sum figure target, which she hopes to achieve with the help of family and friends.
“Before I float away I would love to get to £1m, that is my big prize goal,” she said. “Maggie’s has changed my life and I just want to give something back.
“Being diagnosed with cancer is a massive shock, it changes everyone’s lives completely. The great thing about Maggie’s is it is there for everybody whose lives are touched by cancer.
“Like any charity, they have struggled in recent years so I asked what I could do to help.
“I had aimed to raise £50k in a year but I was overwhelmed by the level of support so I kept going. It would be a dream if we could get to £1m.”
Following her diagnosis, Lisa decided to make use of her background in marketing and launched Lisa’s Challenge to highlight the work of the charity.
Since then, she has successfully organised a host of events including charity balls and afternoon teas, raising thousands for the cancer support charity, which is based at the Western General Hospital.
Family and friends have also rallied to the cause, completing marathons, epic swims and setting up bake sales. Importantly, they have also been there to help keep her spirits up when she has not been well. Lisa added: “Last week I was in hospital with pneumonia and this was the medicine that got me through.
“When the drugs and illness is wearing you down, reading posts on Facebook about how the fundraising is going, really cheers you up.”
The brave battler, in an incredible display of modesty, said of her friends and colleagues: “It is incredible what they have achieved.”
Next up is a “Glitteratea” – an afternoon tea and fashion extravaganza – at the Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa next month, where Lisa hopes to raise another five-figure total. Her continued efforts, despite enduring pleurisy and septicaemia because of her weakened immune system, have been praised by former Lloyds colleague David Thomas, who has just led a team on a five-day, 450-mile bicycle ride from London to Edinburgh, raising £16,000.
He said: “Our efforts pale into insignificance when you think of everything Lisa has done. She’s a truly inspirational woman. I think her efforts are outstanding and can’t put into words how incredible she is a person.”
Maggie’s Edinburgh Community Fundraiser Mark Cooper echoed his sentiments, saying the charity is lucky to have her support. He said: “Lisa’s fundraising has been nothing short of inspiring, especially given her personal circumstances. Lisa has shown such tremendous determination, drive and courage to continue her fundraising efforts while dealing with the physical and emotional impact of her illness.”
From austerity balls to Christmas coffee mornings
THE fundraising events organised for Lisa’s Challenge include:
• London to Edinburgh cycle by Lloyds colleagues
• Annual Golf Day at the Royal Burgess
• Jessica Smith’s Football Event
• BoS Sponsorship Team Christmas Sale
• Blackhall Primary School Carols at the Sheraton
• The first Austerity Ball
• Alice and Mhari’s great adventure – Glasgow to Edinburgh Cycle
• Cheviot Challenge
• Golf day hosted by Sam Linton and Iain McCall
• Lloyds 2012 Team Channel Swim
• Julia & Adam Run the Hairy Haggis Relay
• Stew Mel Lions running in the Edinburgh Marathon Festival
• Lloyds Has Got Talent Charity Concert
• Hazel Anderson and Olwen Stewart running the Copenhagen Marathon
• SMC Community Choir
• Five teams in Maggie’s Monster Bike & Hike challenge
• Indulge Afternoon Tea
• Lynn Marshall running the London Marathon
• Book Swap Evening
• Milton Keynes Half Marathon
• Kelly Marcus running the Paris Half Marathon
• Stupendous six slimathon
• Stew Mel’s v Watson’s FP rugby game
• Family walk/ run hosted by the Gumleys
• Marie’s Christmas Coffee Mornings
• “Glitter and Sparkle” Party