INSPIRATIONAL Jane Tomlinson’s fundraising legacy now stands at more than £10m, her family has revealed, as they prepare to mark the tenth anniversary of her death.
The mother-of-three amazed the world as she defied expectations by completing a series of gruelling and seemingly impossible sporting challenges while battling incurable cancer.
Mrs Tomlinson, from Rothwell, was aged just 43 when she died on September 3, 2007, seven years after being diagnosed with breast cancer and being told she had months to live.
Before her death, Mrs Tomlinson had raised £1.8 million for charity.
Since then, with the support of thousands of fundraisers and through the Jane Tomlinson Run For All series of sporting events including the Leeds 10K, the total raised in Jane’s name now stands at over £10m.
Many of her sporting challenges were undertaken when she was in severe pain while undergoing chemotherapy treatments.
They included a Rome to Home cycle ride, the New York and London Marathons, an Ironman, and her final challenge, a 4,200-mile ride across the USA.
Jane’s widower, Mike, said: “I would hope Jane would be happy with what has now been achieved.
“She raised a lot of money during her lifetime, but for everything that she went through, for all of her efforts and everything she endured, it never really seemed enough to me.
“She did a TV interview not long before she died and the interviewer asked her if it had all been worth it. At the time she said ‘no’.
“If she was still here, I’d like to think she would now say ‘yes’.”
The fundraising total has seen scores of good causes, from children’s hospices to cancer support centres, receive vital grants to continue their good works – or establish new projects and services.
It has also seen the launch of a ground-breaking research project which, it is hoped, might help improve the lives of thousands of cancer patients.
Funds from the Appeal are enabling scientists at Leeds Beckett University to examine whether sports medicine technique Kinesiology taping – the sort of strapping used by professional athletes – can reduce the pain and discomfort suffered by cancer patients.
Jane received the treatment in the last months of her life and it was her wish to see whether it could benefit others.
The first Leeds 10K in June 2007 led to an events series, comprising ten 10Ks, two half marathons, a marathon, a 10 mile run and a series of junior and family runs, through which Jane’s charity and its event partner charities have now raised more than £10m.
Mike said: “For us, it was never about creating a legacy for Jane. It was ensuring that the fundraising could go on; the charities that she had supported, and many more, still needed us.”
The last 15 years have presented many highs – and inevitable lows – for Mike and the couple’s children, Suzanne, Rebecca and Steven.
Mike said: “The last few weeks of Jane’s life and, obviously her death, are the absolute lowest points.
“The high points were watching Jane finishing the Florida Ironman. It was just inconceivable that this woman, who had been given months to live, who had never really done any sport, four years later, was doing this. It seems completely fanciful – and it was.”
Mike added: “None of this would have been possible without the support of lots and lots of people. Without them it would not have happened. So, no, I’m not proud; I’m just incredibly grateful.”
For more information on the Jane Tomlinson Appeal go to www.janetomlinsonappeal.com
For details on the events staged by Jane Tomlinson’s Run For All go to www.runforall.com