40th birthday marathon challenge to raise money for two charities in memory of loving mum

To mark her 40th birthday this June, a Chichester mum is in training to run her first marathon to raise money for two charities in memory of her own mother.

Thursday, 8th April 2021, 11:57 am

Rosie Ball lost her battle with lung cancer a decade ago, just a week after her youngest daughter, Vanessa Anthony, had celebrated her 30th birthday.

Vanessa, who lives in Northside, Lavant, with her husband Iain and their ten-year-old daughter Sophia, said: “Mum didn’t like to have an empty nest – her whole life was dedicated to bringing up my sister Sarah and I, and then looking after her grandchildren.

“After Sarah and I moved out, she became a foster carer which suited her down to the ground.

Rosie Ball with one of her grandchildren and her daughters, Vanessa and Sarah
Rosie Ball with one of her grandchildren and her daughters, Vanessa and Sarah

“She was so loving, kind and generous and always liked having children in the home.”

On New Year’s Eve Vanessa decided she wanted to mark tenth anniversary of Rosie’s death with something to make her mum proud.

She said: “Last year, a friend started posting on social media about Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation’s Retro Runs.

“As it was for a lung cancer charity I just had to get involved, plus the runs gave me such motivation to keep active over lockdown.

Vanessa Anthony training for her virtual marathon

“So, on June 26, I will be running my very first virtual marathon.

“I have been a runner for most of my adult life, but never done a marathon so this felt like the perfect opportunity.”

Vanessa, who works for Hampshire County Council, has signed up for the Saskatchewan Virtual Marathon, which allows her to plan her own 26.2-mile route around the area.

She has reached 14 miles in training so far, with support from friends who will also be running sections of her course with her in June.

Rosie Ball and her granddaughter

She said: “The route I have planned starts from my house (which was my childhood home) and goes through Bognor Regis and Pagham – which is where my mum and dad grew up and met – so it will be an emotional route, filled with really special memories of Mum.”

Vanessa is raising money for Bosham charity St Wilfrid’s Hospice, who provided support after Rosie’s death, and Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation.

She said: “I am proud to be an ambassador for St Wilfrid’s, who provide much-needed counselling and support to so many.

“Since losing Mum I’ve tried to pay them back wherever I can, volunteering at their events and on the wards.

“They are a valuable resource for the area.

“All the funds I raise in my marathon will be split between St Wilfrid’s and Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation.”

“The face of lung cancer has changed a lot in those ten years since we lost Mum.

“There are more treatment options, support services, and research being done by charities like Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation.

“But people still need to be more aware of the symptoms of lung cancer.

“I wish we’d have found out about Mum’s diagnosis sooner; we might then have had more time together.

“This is why I’m supporting Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation in my fundraising.

“They are doing everything they can to spread the awareness of lung cancer symptoms so that hopefully, fewer people will have to go through what we did.”

To donate to Vanessa’s fundraiser visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/VanessaAnthony1

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