19th April 2018

Nick Masters

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“You would never expect my mum, my down-to-earth, beautiful mum, to get lung cancer.

You would never expect the granny who was happiest in her shorts and bikini, cap and cream walking anyone’s dogs with sand between her toes to get lung cancer.

You would never expect the woman for whom no sport was off limits – running, swimming, cycling, triathlons, spinning, stand up paddling, Zumba, Pilates, life-saving – to die of lung cancer.

But she did.

Mum had been suffering from pretty insistent chest infections but when she couldn’t shake the last one off, she persuaded her GP to request a chest x-ray. That’s when she was diagnosed with the unthinkable – stage 4 lung cancer. She died just seven months later.

It’s clichéd to say that you think about your lost loved ones every day, but it’s true. Now though I am able to appreciate the influence she had on our lives and a determination to experience the everyday with the passion and joy she did.

You would never expect the woman for whom no sport was off limits to die of lung cancer. But she did.

Alison was incredibly active and loved all sports

Mum had the most incredible ability to take the maximum enjoyment out of every experience and situation, to appreciate every minute as a gift. Simple things brought her pleasure – sunsets and full moons were her gold, her sons and grandchildren her diamonds and time with her partner, Ray, her winning lottery ticket.

She was the type of mum and granny who would squash into the kiddies seat, or even in the boot, just to be involved in the fun.

Being the active person she was, it was no surprise that we followed her lead. The London Marathon, one of the world’s most iconic marathons, has been on my bucket list for a while. Mum used to regularly ask me if I’d managed to get a place.

Whilst it hurts that I was never able to tell her I had whilst she was alive, I am so grateful to have the opportunity to tick it off my list now whilst raising awareness of this awful disease and money for such an important charity.

Shortly after mum died, we found this poem in her drawer and found the words comforting:

We know early detection for lung cancer is possible. It just needs to be given the opportunity. Then, instead of it being the sunshine of tomorrow, it can be the sunshine of today. That’s why I’m running this year’s London Marathon in support of Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation.”