It’s not that unusual for people to make an exceptional effort for charity in memory of a loved one.
But Linlithgow bank worker Sara Stevenson is determined to “go the extra distance” - very literally - in memory of her beloved mum.
Sara Stevenson has already completed the gruelling Tough Mudder commando-style assault course in Perthsire – and the back-breaking Cateran Yomp, a 54-mile cross-country hike over just 24 hours.
The word “yomp” has a specific military connotation, and that particular stint was to raise money for ABF, the soldier’s charity - again partly because of a family connection.
Sara, 41, raised £1.000 directly from that exercise, and also “flew the flag” for a charity she considers deserves as much publicity as possible.
She has a brother in the forces, and several generations of her family have put their lives on the line in the service of their country.
“If you know the background to soldiers’ stories and what some of them have to endure it makes a lot of sense to support such a cause”, says Sara.
But with these exercises completed she has set herself two arguably even tougher objectives, both dedicated to the loving memory of her late mum, Jan Strudwick, who died in April 2013, aged 64 – 18 months after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
Sara talks feelingly about the sort of woman her mum was, and about the kind of example she set.
Determined to use even her death to help the fight against the deadly disease, Jan donated her body to Edinhburgh University for research.
“It was also an acknowledgement of the work done on her behalf by Professor Charlie Gourlay of Edinburgh’s Western General Hospital,” said Sara,
“He was an outstanding and hugely supportive consultant, and his research work is crucially important”.
Her mission now is to raise awareness of the causes of ovarian cancer, and to collect as much as she can for the fighting fund needed to defeat the deadly disease.
The cash she has raised will go directly to his specific research fund - a fact which Sara positively “knows”, hand on heart, that would have met her mum’s full approval.
Sara said: “I wanted to do things that would test me to the limit. I’ve had great support from my husband Ian and my son Brodie (7) and a lot of friends – some of whom told me I should tell the Gazette about my effort.”
Now she is gearing up for the Linlithgow 10k on September 25 , followed in short order by the Glencoe Marathon, a 26.2 mile off-road trail run through Glencoe and the foothills of Ben Nevis.
Sara hopes Gazette readers will consider donating something, it doesn’t matter if it’s a small amount, to help Charlie Gourley and his colleagues in their bid to nail a notorious and implacable killer of women.
There are full details of Sara’s effort at https://www.justgiving.com/teams/in-memory-of-Jan-Strudwick.