A STUDENT has completed ‘the toughest test of her life’ for cancer research after learning her dad was terminally ill.
Jo Fitzgerald took part in the overnight Shine marathon in London and has thanked the Advertiser for publicising her efforts and helping her raise more than £500.
However, the 20-year-old is still taking donations and money can be pledged online at www.justgiving.com/JoFitzgerald until November 1.
Brave Jo and pal Sophie Elliott completed the 26-mile tour of the capital in 11 hours and two minutes in tribute to her dad, who was recently told he had terminal cancer.
Starting out at Battersby Power Station at 7.30pm and taking in sights including the Gherkin building, the Houses of Parliament and London Bridge, Jo said the trip made her feel ‘empowered’ in the fight against the world’s biggest killer.
Each participant was given a huge speech bubble to attach to their back, on which they wrote why they were doing the walk.
The Swallow Close resident said: “That was a really emotional part of the experience.
“You were mostly walking behind people who were doing it for their mums, dads, friends and other relatives.
“But some people had written on their backs ‘I’m doing this for me’, which was just overwhelming.
“The fact they were doing the walk despite some of them suffering from cancer was so selfless and I think everyone had the sense this was a really special thing.”
Former Thomas Alleyne’s High School pupil Jo said her dad had told her of his ‘pride’ as soon as she returned home.
She said: “I’m notoriously lazy and a lot of people were sceptical as to whether I’d actually go through with this and, admittedly, it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.
“We managed to finish the first four miles in an hour and thought ‘this isn’t going to be too bad’, but we were dead on our feet by the end and the last three miles took two hours.
“It was great to see the sights of London. The most striking memory I have is how massive parliament was.
“I think it was made to seem even bigger by the fact that we were both dying for the loo and had to walk round the whole place to get there.
“The Cancer Research building and Channel Four building both had huge projections sending us messages of support, which was amazing to see and really raised our spirits.
“There were food and drink stations every four miles and, at one, there was a team of dancers that performed constantly from start to finish. That was inspirational and a huge sacrifice.”