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Thurso man takes on marathon after family’s cancer heartbreak

By David G Scott

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A Thurso runner is set to take on the London Marathon next month after losing his dad to cancer and having his mum diagnosed with the deadly disease last year.

Nigel Mackenzie has set up a charity fundraiser that has already raised almost half of the goal amount of £2000 towards the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in London.

Nigel said: “Our family lost my dad, Jim, to cancer in 2018. He’d been a bit poorly for a while, but by the time they found out it was cancer, it was too late – the cancer had spread so much, he only lived another seven weeks.

Nigel Mackenzie with his late father, Jim.
Nigel Mackenzie with his late father, Jim.

"That was a real shock for us all, and it was a really difficult time for our family. And then last year, my mum, Val, was diagnosed with lung cancer. She’s had immunotherapy, and now we’re just waiting on scan results to see what happens next."

Site manager Nigel has temporarily moved in with his mother to look after her, and said she’s doing okay at the moment, but that "they’re just taking it one day at a time". Nigel says he has a goal to raise both awareness of cancer, and funds to support research into it.

Nigel Mackenzie from Thurso.
Nigel Mackenzie from Thurso.

“I wanted to run the marathon for the ICR so more research can be done to help others. This time last year, we were told my mum’s prognosis was really poor, but she’s still here and still carrying on. The more money that’s raised, the more research that can be done, and the more families can be helped.

“I’ve run a few marathons in the past, and had originally hoped to do this year’s in under three-and-a-half hours, but my training’s taken a bit of a hit recently, so I’m just going to focus on enjoying the atmosphere on the day and raising money for charity – after all, that’s what the event is about.”

Nigel intends to run the London Marathon in support of a cancer charity.
Nigel intends to run the London Marathon in support of a cancer charity.

Robin Plowman, supporter events manager at the ICR, said: “We’re so proud of Nigel, and all the other #teamICR runners. The coronavirus pandemic has been a challenge for us all, especially for cancer patients. That’s why we’re so excited to run or walk together again, to raise funds for our cancer research.

"We wish Nigel, and all our runners, the best of luck as they continue with their training, and we’re looking forward to cheering everybody on when the big day arrives.”

Anyone wishing to help Nigel with his fundraiser appeal can donate at: uk.virginmoneygiving.com/NigelMackenzie1

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