London Marathon: Natasha Evans running for plane transport charity Please Take Me There
Marathon newbie Natasha Evans, who lives in Thorley Park, will realise a lifelong ambition by running on Sunday.
The London Marathon is something she has always wanted to do. "It's been a bucket list thing since I was a little girl," said the 45-year-old mother of two, who acquired a ballot place for the race.
She is running to raise money and awareness for Please Take Me There, which provides free, non-emergency transport for seriously ill children and adults, helping them to access healthcare, family occasions and dream days out – by a private Cessna Stationair plane flown by experienced volunteer pilots.
The charity was founded in 2014 by Fernando Pinho. When he was 10, his brother was diagnosed with leukaemia, so he saw first-hand the effects the illness had on his family – emotionally, practically and financially.
Natasha heard about Please Take Me There when Fernando gave a talk as part of a charity lunch through her employer, investment and consultancy company Delta2020 at Thremhall Park, Start Hill. She is also a personal trainer at PureGym in Harlow.
She has done several runs over the past three years, typically for cancer charities. Her first endeavour was the Hatfield Broad Oak 10k for Cancer Research UK, a cause especially close to her heart.
At the time, her father Harold was battling bowel and prostate cancer, and her husband Graham had been diagnosed with kidney cancer. "I ran that the day before [Graham] went into hospital," Natasha said.
Graham has made a full recovery, and it is business as usual for the couple – who this year celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary – and their two sons, Harlow College student James, 17, and Bishop's Stortford High School pupil Ben, 14.
Natasha has found that by helping a small, as opposed to a large, well-known cause, the rewards are greater. "If you're raising money for it, you really are a part of that charity, you're not just a number," she said.
* To sponsor Natasha, go online at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/nbefitpt