Running in mum’s memory at Hartlepool’s Race for Life

Olivia Parry with her dad Graham
Olivia Parry with her dad Graham

INSPIRATIONAL Gill Parry beat breast cancer and then raised thousands of pounds as she took part in the Race for Life 11 years in a row.

But tragically in 2009 the cancer returned and spread to her brain, and after a brave three year battle she lost her fight for life - aged just 52.

Olivia Parry.

Olivia Parry.

Gill’s “amazing attitude” and courage inspired and had an impact on all those who knew her - nobody more so than her loving daughter, Olivia.

And this Sunday, the 19-year-old will join thousands on the start line raising money for those who battle the devastating disease - with her mum at the forefront of her thoughts.

“My mum was ill for three years when the cancer returned but she never, ever stopped smiling,” said Olivia.

“She never let her pain show and she was more concerned about keeping things as normal as possible.

Gill Parry with her daughters, Olivia, front, and Charlotte.

Gill Parry with her daughters, Olivia, front, and Charlotte.

“The number of people who attended her funeral reminded us of the number of people’s lives she touched with her attitude to life.

“I don’t know the exact amount she raised in all of the years she took part in Race for Life but it was thousands and thousands, that was the way she was, she would do anything she could to help others.”

Olivia was inspired by her mum to take part in Race for Life for the first time five years ago and has completed the 5k course every year since then.

Last year she raised more than £1,000 as she embarked on a dedicated fundraising drive - despite the fact she had lost her mum just three months earlier.

Gill was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000 and after a brave fight against the disease she went into remission.

But four years ago the worst nightmare became a reality for Gill, her loving husband, Graham, 53, and her two daughters, Charlotte, 23, and Olivia, when they were told the cancer had returned and spread to her brain.

Gill, who worked as a financial advisor at Abbey National, courageously fought the cancer for three years but sadly lost her life in March, last year.

“She never stopped smiling, laughing and joking and that’s how I will always remember my mum,” said Olivia, who remarkably achieved two Bs and a C in her A-levels just months after losing her mum and is now planning to go on to university.

“As much as it pains me that she will not see me grow up, be at my wedding or meet my children I know she fought to see me for an extra three years and for that I am forever grateful.”

Olivia, who lives in The Stables, at Wynyard, now wants to continue raising cash as her mum did in support of Cancer Research UK to stop other people going through what Gill had to face.

Women still have a few hours to sign up for this Sunday’s event and join Olivia in raising money and awareness.

Entry closes at midnight tonight and organisers are urging people to register and help reach the event’s total fundraising target of £65,000.

The race starts at 11am on the seafront promenade at Seaton Carew.

To enter visit www.raceforlife.org or call 0845 600 6050.