Sports science student Molly Elliott, 18, from Walthamstow, is set to run the Virgin Money London Marathon this year in memory of her beloved Granddad, Ron Searle, who died at the age of 81 in 2019 after being diagnosed with cancer.
Explaining why she decided to sign up to run the iconic event for Macmillan Cancer Support, Molly explained how he was supported in his final days by the cancer charity, and paid a heartfelt tribute to her Granddad Ron, who she always affectionately called Baccy.
Molly – who studies at Epping Forest College and is a coach on the Spurs global football development programme and girls talent pathway – says: “I decided to take on the challenge in honour of my Granddad, as it is giving me the opportunity to raise money for the charity that looked after him.
“He had a Macmillan nurse who would check on him and my nan, as it was very hard for her as well. The nurse was very helpful, kind and caring, and really helped to ease my nan and granddad if they felt anxious.
“I just feel so lucky that I now have the opportunity to raise money to help families affected by cancer too. It is the least I could do to say thank you to this amazing charity for the care, compassion and love they gave to my granddad and my family. We all are forever grateful.”
Molly’s Granddad was diagnosed at St Bartholomew’s Hospital with Mesothelioma – a form of cancer often linked to asbestos exposure – in December 2018, and after receiving palliative care at Whipps Cross Hospital died a year later, just three days after his 81st birthday.
Explaining how important her Granddad was to her, Molly says: “My Granddad, or Baccy as I have always called him, was my best friend – words will never be able to justify how incredible he was.
“He was always the person you could go to no matter what, especially if something was broken, he would always be able to fix it.
“My Baccy loved jazz music, roll up cigarettes and a pint or two at his local. He was funny, kind, gentle and clever. He was so talented and could make anything he set his mind to. He loved his family and we all loved him.
“He was the glue of our family and without him here, there will always be an empty space. I feel so lucky that I got to call him my Granddad.
“All I want to do now is make him proud of me, which I hope I am doing every day. I hope he is always looking down on me as I will always look up to him.”
Molly now hopes her efforts will raise £2,600 for Macmillan, however it’s not the first time she’s raised money for the cause.
In June 2019, Molly took part in her first charity run, completing Run Regents Park 10km for Macmillan, raising over £1,000.
She says: “It was a day I will never forget as my Grandad was still with us and I was able to go and visit him afterwards and show him my medal. He told me how proud he was of me.
“I am now running the London Marathon for Macmillan as I wanted to go bigger and better this year! I know it is going to be a massive challenge but it’s the least I can do.”