Marie Curie: Edinburgh man pays emotional tribute to mum after raising £40,000 for cancer charity

An Edinburgh man has completed the incredible challenge of running a marathon every month for a year to mark the first anniversary of his mum’s death – smashing his fundraising target to raise over £40k for the Marie Curie charity.

Alistair Thomson, from Cramond in Edinburgh, had never run a marathon before his mother's death.
Alistair Thomson, from Cramond in Edinburgh, had never run a marathon before his mother's death.

Alistair Thomson, from Cramond, started his fundraising challenge last February – just one month after mum Sue's death due to cancer.

The 35-year-old had never run a marathon before, but after hearing from a friend that running can help with the grieving process, he was inspired him to start pounding the pavements.

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He was keen to take on the challenge of running marathons, while also raising vital funds for Marie Curie, to ensure other terminally ill people and their families would receive the same care and support his mum and family did.

Alistair, a financial controller for Star Pubs & Bars, said “I’m blown away and so humbled by people’s generosity.

“I originally set myself the challenge of raising £8,129, which is a day’s running cost for the Edinburgh hospice, but that was reached before I’d completed the first marathon.

“The donations continued to come in and I was incredibly humbled by the support that people gave – it really helped me keep going both physically and mentally.

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“I’ve cycled 100 miles several times without issue, so I knew that I just had to somehow transfer the cycling fitness into marathon running.

“Knowing I had over 26 miles to run each month – on top of the training – was hard going, so I’m looking forward to putting my feet up for a little bit. Although I have a three-year-old, so I’m not sure how easy that will be!

“My mum was one of the most supportive people in my life. Crossing the finishing line was emotional as it was a year to the day that she died, but I know that she was rooting for me on every step of every run.”

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In September 2020 Alistair’s mum, Sue, was diagnosed with secondary metastatic breast cancer, around 15 years after undergoing treatment for primary breast cancer.

She was admitted to the Marie Curie Hospice, Edinburgh last January where she received end of life care for a few weeks.

Alistair added: “Mum moved into the hospice at the beginning of January 2021 where she was looked after by the incredible team.

“As well as visits from me, my wife and my dad, it also meant she got to see her grandson, Hamish, running around in the snowy hospice garden, which brought a warming smile to her face.

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“The compassion, sympathy and understanding staff showed both her and us throughout was phenomenal, and we are so grateful she was able to live out her last few days in relative comfort while being afforded the dignity and support she deserved.”

Jim Stewart, Community Fundraiser at Marie Curie, said: “We’re so proud of Alistair. What he’s put his body through has been extremely challenging.

“It’s through selfless fundraisers like him, and his supporters, for raising such an incredible sum of money, which enables us to continue providing care and support to terminally ill people and their families.

“And thanks to the Pears Foundation match funding over £16,000 – this will pay for two days of care at the hospice.”

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