“I never ever thought I’d be a runner. Running for Cancer Research UK has given me that opportunity” | Emily’s Story

The pandemic was a hard enough time for everyone, but for Emily Taylor the world had never felt so cruel. With her mother’s cancer diagnosis in 2020, Emily’s story reminds us of the acute difficulty of coping with a loved one’s illness during the pandemic. Yet, it also provides hope for those going through grief – and hope for a cancer-free future through supporting Cancer Research UK.

Read Emily’s story here…


In 2020, during the pandemic, my darling mum was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer, which had spread to her bones. The diagnosis was a huge shock to us all. There were absolutely no symptoms until a month before when she began to have pain in her back. What’s more, mum had always been so active, walking her beloved Malvern Hills (where I grew up) every day during lockdown in 2020! It felt so cruel that after months apart, we were now faced with a terminal diagnosis.

Over those next few months, my sister and I looked after mum, until she had a fall in February 2021 and was taken into hospital. There they discovered that the cancer had so riddled her bones and skeleton that the hip had disintegrated, and they had to remove it. As the bones were so fragile, there was no chance of a hip replacement. The doctor said that she would never walk again. However, she very bravely (alone in hospital with no visitors) spent hours trying to regain some mobility. Soon after this, I decided that if mum couldn’t walk, I’d walk for her – and raise money to help fight cancer. I signed up for Cancer Research UK’s Walk All Over Cancer challenge for March 2021 and this goal helped me during what was an incredibly difficult time.

Then, on Mother’s Day (14 March), we got the call we were dreading. There was no warning – in fact, I’d arranged to have a FaceTime call with mum later that day. But instead, my sister and I spent our final Mother’s Day at our mum’s bedside. In the early hours of 15 March 2021, we said goodbye to mum – less than 4 months after her diagnosis.

Feeling utterly hopeless, I decided to try and continue to fundraise in mum’s name after finishing the Walk All Over Cancer challenge, which had helped channel some of my grief. So, I signed up for Race for Life in September 2021. I had never run before. Literally, never. I downloaded the Couch to 5K app and gradually worked my way through the weeks until I was finally able to run 5k. I ran Race for Life and a friend then persuaded me to join our local running club. I’ll admit that for a few months I struggled to find the love for running. A friend who has run multiple marathons told me, give it six months and you’ll love it! I remember messaging him that Christmas to say, you were right! I love running!

Suddenly, I had the bug! So, I signed up for various other running challenges raising money for Cancer Research UK. This year, I am taking on the Cancer Research UK London Winter Run for the first time. I never even imagined that I’d be running a 10k, but here we are.

Running has been my lifeline over the past few years since mum’s passing. Each run gives me time to myself, to reflect and to escape. Through fundraising for Cancer Research UK, I aim to continue helping families like ours to have longer with their loved ones and find ways to cure and prevent cancer in the first place. I know that the vital research of Cancer Research UK will help to reduce the risk of getting cancer – today, nearly 1 in 2* of us will get cancer in our lifetime.

The Cancer Research UK London Winter Run event poses a fantastic opportunity for everyone impacted by cancer, or just anyone who wants to make a difference. I’m looking forward to the buzz and fun of the day, as well as running through the streets of London. I also can’t wait to unlock the reward items along the way along my fundraising journey (I’ve got my eye on that hoodie!) So, bring on the challenge and I’ll be bringing everything I’ve got to help overcome cancer.


Thank you, Emily, for sharing your story. We hope that you enjoy your fundraising journey toward the start line in February.