Breast cancer survivor says running London Marathon ‘made me feel alive’

Breast cancer survivor says running London Marathon ‘made me feel alive’
Jackie Scully (front left), was part of a 10-person London bus costume (Guinness World Record/PA)
Guinness World Record

A breast cancer survivor who ran in a 10-person London bus costume said running the Marathon “made me feel alive”.

Jackie Scully, 42, from Greenwich, south London, broke a Guinness World Record (GWR) while marking a “huge milestone” at the race, celebrating 10 years since she finished chemotherapy treatment for cancer and was given the all-clear.

Mrs Scully said seeing the London crowd cheer for her and her nine friends made her reflect on how far she has come since her cancer treatment.

She told the PA news agency: “I think (the race) made me feel alive. I think the thing about chemotherapy is it can take so much away from you.

Jackie Scully in the bus outfit with nine of her friendsJackie Scully (front left) tackled the London Marathon with nine friends (Ed Roe/PA)

“Out there on the streets of London being cheered by random strangers, it just reminds you that you can sit in your comfort zone in life, but if you push the seemingly impossible you can achieve the most amazing, wonderful things.

“I think today was a real example of that.”

The team broke the GWR for fastest marathon time in a 10-person costume, running the race in six hours and 32 minutes, beating the previous record by about 23 minutes.

Three miles into the race, Mrs Scully feared her foot might break, when it became painful, but was determined to finish the marathon.

“There were moments when I just didn’t think I’d do it because my foot started hurting at around mile three and I just thought it would break fully but I kept going,” she said.

Jackie ScullyIt is 10 years since Jackie Scully finished treatment for breast cancer (Jackie Scully/PA)

“It was coming out of Canary Wharf and I just had this moment where my foot really didn’t like me. I didn’t want to be the one that stopped so I just ran with my head and hoped the rest of my body followed, which it did.”

Mrs Scully said she “burst into tears” when she reached Tower Bridge and described the event as an “emotional day”.

“I think Tower Bridge was a highlight but the last few miles were amazing. It was a cacophony of noise and everyone was being so kind,” she said.

“We had pictures on the bus of people who are no longer with us and people who are going through cancer and it was a hugely emotional day.”

She is aiming to raise £100,000 across the year for Breast Cancer Now, a charity which supported her throughout her treatment, as well as NHS Charities Together and the Willow Foundation, the latter of which provides experiences for adults with serious illnesses.

So far she has raised more than £30,000 and said raising the money is “phenomenal” for those undergoing cancer treatment.

Jackie Scully in the bus costumeJackie Scully said the London Marathon ‘holds a really special place in my heart’ (Ed Roe/PA)

She said: “Going into this we’ve raised more than £30,000 for charity – more than I’d ever anticipated from this event. I feel incredibly grateful and humble.

“I’ve got lots of friends who are going through secondary cancer and to think that what we did today will give them not just hope, but services and resources and the ability to find a way to smile through life-limiting conditions is phenomenal.”

She hopes her run will inspire people to step out of their comfort zone and has encouraged those undergoing cancer treatment to focus on ways of making “the world a better place”.

“Push yourself to places you never thought were possible, and see what happens,” she said.

“I’ve been at the bottom of stairs that I haven’t been able to walk up and today I crossed the marathon finish line in a 20kg bus.”

She added: “I think that in life a lot of people go through life being told they can’t and actually when you find out you can it’s hugely inspiring.

“With regards to people going through cancer, specifically, face the opposition in front of you, face for day, see what you can do and then after that it’s how can you do more to make the world a better place.”

Mrs Scully will also be taking on other challenges throughout the year, including the London 10k in July with 99 other people and trekking 100km across the Sahara Desert in November.

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