Andy Grieff-Liggins found out his closest friend was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2015. He shares his story and why taking on challenge events and fundraising for Ovarian Cancer Action means so much to him.
“It’s about five months since I found out I would be running the London Marathon for Ovarian Cancer Action this year. This will be my second marathon; I completed my first one in 2016.
I just missed out on being the 1,000,000th runner to finish the London Marathon, hitting the finish line in 999,997th place. Not such good planning, but I was just relieved to finish!
I’m not a runner or a fitness fanatic, I’m just that ‘normal’ person who goes to work and spends time with my beautiful wife and two lovely children.
However back in May 2013, my closest friend was diagnosed with stage 3C ovarian cancer and, after surgery and chemotherapy, she was given the good news that there was no evidence of the disease.
Sadly it came back in April 2015 and I couldn’t think of any way I could help, apart from reading about the disease.
The work and commitment that goes into research that helps support clinical trials is fantastic, however charities like OCA rely solely on the generosity of donations from the public. So I wondered ‘how can I raise funds to help support these charities?’
What better way than jumping straight in at the deep end and running the London Marathon! The last time I had worn running shoes was when I was at school in 1998.
With everyone’s support I raised just over £2,000 for Cancer Research UK! But I didn’t want to stop there – I wanted to support Ovarian Cancer Action directly, so applied again for the London Marathon 2017 and thankfully received a place.
I knew it was going to be more difficult to raise funds this time around, so I organised a New Year’s Eve party, hired the village hall and charged a £5 entrance fee.
Everyone bought a tray of food for the buffet. It was a great success and helped raise just over £200.
Once the New Year arrived, I started talking to the local newspaper that kindly wrote a piece that prompted an interview with BBC Radio Leicester.
Then I wrote to companies telling them about my four challenges and asked if they would donate a voucher or gift to an online auction to raise more funds.
The response was fantastic, so I started a group called ‘Showing Cancer who’s Boss’ on Facebook and used it as a platform to keep people updated on my progress.
I also used it to run the auction where people would bid on the prizes that were donated – the auction lasted seven days and raised a fantastic £1,407!
Training for challenges is tough but the fundraising is really good fun, so whilst I may never run another marathon or ride a bike again, this has given me the bug to carry on doing events and help raise money for the guys that really do make a difference. Well done Ovarian Cancer Action!"