Mum beats £50k Maggie’s target

A MOTHER-OF-TWO who has incurable cancer has smashed her goal of raising £50,000 for Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres in less than five months.

Lisa Stephenson, 43, was diagnosed with myeloma – a cancer of the plasma cells in the bone marrow – in April last year. Seven weeks ago she underwent a gruelling stem cell transplant at the Western General to try to keep the disease under control.

But she decided to aid her recovery from the procedure by hosting a tea party at the Sheraton Hotel, which raised an incredible £8300.

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Her friends have also donated money from their own fundraising events, and a team who took part in Maggie’s Monster Bike and Hike at the weekend raised £14,553, pushing the total raised up to £61,473.

Mrs Stephenson, who lives in Ravelston, said: “As I came out of the transplant I was feeling pretty ropey. I was feeling very sorry for myself and I thought ‘You need a goal for yourself, let’s have an afternoon tea’.”

She called on friends to help her pull the event together in just two-and-a-half weeks and was delighted by the response.

She said: “More and more people were saying ‘We need more tickets’, and then on the day, as I was sitting doing mental calculations of what we would make, it was just terrific.”

Mrs Stephenson, who works in marketing for Lloyds Banking Group, added: “I wanted to be able to communicate what Maggie’s was about by telling my story, which I hope will help people see how much Maggie’s does and can do and how many people it helps.

“The Western General hospital is first class – they look after my body and after my cancer – but Maggie’s looks after my head. With any illness, but particularly with cancer, I think the mental battle is as important as the physical battle.”

She and her friends are not stopping their fundraising just because they’ve topped £50,000.

Two friends are due to take part in the Copenhagen Marathon on May 20, and a concert has been arranged in Bristol by fellow Lloyds employees on May 24. A fundraising ball is planned for December 8.

Despite still feeling the side effects of the stem cell transplant, which can take a year to recover from, Mrs Stephenson is also to take part in the Race for Life with daughter Ellie, 15.

Marion Taylor, Maggie’s community fundraiser for Edinburgh and the Lothians, said: “Lisa is an extraordinary lady who inspires everyone she meets. It is fantastic to know that Maggie’s has helped her so much, but everyone at Maggie’s is also grateful for how much she has given back.”

See www.lisaschallengefor for more details.