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Nicola has been taking part in the VHI Women's Mini Marathon since 2015. Supplied

‘I take part in memory of my mam - and for other families affected by cancer'

Nicola Hayes is taking part in her eighth VHI Women’s Mini Marathon in aid of the Irish Cancer Society on Sunday June 5th.

“TO SEE EVERYONE come together to try to help other people makes for a brilliant atmosphere.”

As is the case for thousands of Irish women, the VHI Women’s Mini Marathon holds an important place in Nicola Hayes’ calendar. And this year marks the eighth time she’ll be participating in the event – which takes place on Bank Holiday Sunday June 5th – to raise funds for the Irish Cancer Society

Nicola decided to fundraise for the Irish Cancer Society after the loss of her mother Evelyn, who was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2014 and who passed away in April 2015, aged 56. 

“There was a year from her diagnosis to passing away, so it was very quick,” says Nicola. “She got help and financial assistance from the Irish Cancer Society, and that prompted me to do the Mini Marathon for the Society because I could see how the money raised directly helps patients.

“I’ve also seen the other ways that the Irish Cancer Society supports people affected by cancer, such as at the Daffodil Centre in the Hermitage Clinic where I work, and where people can go in and have a chat with experienced cancer nurses. I’ve been doing the Mini Marathon in my mother’s name and in her honour since.”

Nicola Hayes 2 (1) Nicola Hayes is raising funds for the Irish Cancer Society in memory of her mam. Supplied Supplied

In its 40th year, the VHI Women’s Mini Marathon is an opportunity for women of all ages and levels of fitness to raise much-needed money for charity by walking, jogging or running the 10km route.  

With the event fast approaching, Nicola is urging women to take part on the day in support of the Irish Cancer Society. “It’s a great day and it’s just so good seeing all of the different charities represented,” she says. 

Participating in the VHI Women’s Mini Marathon in aid of the Irish Cancer Society will help to raise much-needed funds for cancer research and support services for people who have been affected by cancer. These services – including the support line, night nursing service and volunteer driver service – continued throughout the pandemic, with an estimated 44,000 people receiving a cancer diagnosis in Ireland in 2021 alone.

The funds also help the Irish Cancer Society to provide financial aid for those affected by cancer, like Nicola’s mam Evelyn.

Nicola Hayes 3 The t-shirt Nicola's sister bought her. Supplied Supplied

When the event couldn’t take place because of lockdown restrictions in 2019 and 2020, Nicola made sure she could still take part and raise vital funds for the charity by completing the Mini Marathon virtually.  

“I’ve been doing the Mini Marathon on my own and running in the Phoenix Park during the pandemic,” she says. “It will be great to be back in the city this year.”

Nicola is usually joined by her aunt for the event, but this year she’ll be doing it solo. “I don’t mind doing it on my own, because I’m not really on my own,” she says, referring to the thousands of other women who will be taking part on the day. 

A meaningful t-shirt Nicola’s sister got her for her first Mini Marathon will also be making an appearance: “It says ‘mam’ and has her dates on the back. I’ve been wearing it since 2015.”  

Whether you’re aiming for a personal best or want to enjoy the walk through Dublin city on the day, by taking part and raising funds for the Irish Cancer Society you’ll be showing support for families like Nicola’s who have been affected by cancer.

“The charities are what matters the most, and getting them sponsorship. Obviously, the Irish Cancer Society is my number one,” says Nicola. 

Register to run, jog or walk the VHI Women’s Mini Marathon this June 5 and help support cancer patients and their families by raising vital funds and awareness for the Irish Cancer Society. Register now to be part of Team Irish Cancer Society and help make a difference.

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