Best friends prepare to run ten half marathons for Bluebell Wood Hospice

Lauren Thirlwall, aged 27, and Heather Grayson, aged 28, are taking on ten half marathons in memory of Lauren's 'one of a kind' sister Gemma.
Lauren Thirlwall, aged 27, and Heather Grayson, aged 28, are taking on ten half marathons in memory of Lauren's 'one of a kind' sister Gemma.
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Two best friends are preparing to run ten half marathons in memory of a ‘one of a kind’ family member.

Lauren Thirlwall, aged 27, and Heather Grayson, aged 28, are taking on the challenges in memory of Lauren’s ‘one of a kind’ sister Gemma.

To mark ten years this November since Gemma died following an accident at the age of 26, the two friends will run their first half marathon in Lincoln on September 30.

They then plan to do the Manchester half marathon on October 14 and another eight events up to August 2019.

They have decided to fundraise for South Yorkshire’s only children’s hospice, Bluebell Wood.

Lauren said: “Gemma was truly one of a kind, and brought warmth and laughter to every room she entered. Because she never got the opportunity to have her own family, we wanted to support a place that offers such incredible support for families facing very difficult journeys.

“Losing my only sibling was heart-breaking for me, and I want to do anything I can to help those who are in the same position.

“The idea is to run one half marathon for each year Gemma should have been here with us, as November will mark a decade since she passed away. We know it will be both mentally and physically tough for us, but we’re excited and up for it.

“We’ve been doing runs of around 5k to 7k throughout the week and then longer ones at the weekend.

“We have fundraised for Bluebell Wood before. My Dad and I set up ‘Gemma’s Smile’ in 2009 and collectively raised £40,000 by February 2010.

“Gemma was absolutely the best chapter of my life and I know every mile of pain I’m going to endure in her memory will be worth it. Ten years is a difficult milestone, but we’re determined to keep her smile shining through and support such an incredible hospice.”

To sponsor Lauren and Heather on their #10forGem challenge please visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/10forgem.