On 12 May, I had the honour of being part of the Sue Ryder Yorkshire Women of Achievement Awards and presenting the Jane Tomlinson Award for Courage on behalf of 1825.
The Yorkshire Women of Achievement Awards have been running for 31 years, with the aim of raising money for the Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice. Sue Ryder provides personalised care, along with emotional and psychological support to people who are facing a life-changing diagnosis, and their families. It’s a charity close to many of our hearts at 1825 and I’m delighted that we were able to support the awards again this year which helped raise just under £60,000.
The Jane Tomlinson Award for Courage is all about honouring remarkable women. And there’s no doubt that Jane was extraordinary. After learning she had incurable breast cancer at 36, Jane proceeded to defy expectations and achieve what many people thought was impossible.
In the years following her diagnosis, Jane, from Leeds, took on a series of challenges including two half Ironmans, three London Marathons, the New York Marathon, three London Triathlons and three long distance bike rides – John O Groats to Land’s End, Rome to Home and her final huge challenge, a 4,500 mile ride across America. These amazing efforts saw her raise an incredible £1.85million for charity and create an inspiring and lasting legacy.
The award in her honour is part of that legacy, and this year recognised another inspirational woman.
This year’s winner – Leanne Owen
At the age of 42, the bubble burst on Leanne Owen’s world. She was a fire fighter; she had an active life with her husband, two sons and their dog. Then she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and her life changed forever.
There is no cure for Parkinson’s, a neurological condition which affects the part of the brain which controls movement. Things we take for granted – such as cooking and walking or washing your hair – all become extremely difficult.
Six years after that diagnosis, Leanne decided to lead the way in raising awareness of this illness. Last year, she cycled nearly 500 miles for Parkinson’s Awareness – raising £14,000 – and she has reached thousands of people during this journey as an inspirational speaker.
The whole day, and meeting Leanne in particular, was emotional and inspirational and humbling. And I can understand why so many of my colleagues in our Leeds office have been inspired to do more for the Sue Ryder charity.
The Leeds half marathon was a couple of weeks ago and Robyn and Richard were both chuffed (though maybe a little out of puff) to be representing Sue Ryder’s “Team Incredible” – a group of people from across the country who do the legwork when it comes to raising funds that Sue Ryder relies on.
You can check out #TeamIncredible on Twitter to keep up with everyone’s adventures, or learn more about their stories on Sue Ryder’s website where you can of course donate to the cause, or even sign up to Team Incredible yourself.