The winner of the revived Kirkcaldy Half Marathon has generously donated his prize-money to a fundraising drive set up in the name of a young girl who lost her life to cancer.
Paralympian Derek Rae, who is the ambassador for the 2019 race and triumphed in a time of 1:10:23 at the event last Sunday, has given his £250 winnings to Megan’s Journey, in memory of Kirkcaldy youngster Megan Clarkson (2), who died on January 2 after battling a rare form of lung cancer.
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Megan’s mum Kelly has previously told the Press how she had been inspired to help some of the charities that supported Megan.
The money raised by Megan’s Journey is going to: the Children’s Ward of the Victoria Hospital, along with Ronald McDonald House in Glasgow, and the Teapot Trust in Edinburgh, which provides art therapy for chronically ill children.
Kelly told The Press she was overwhelmed after learning of Derek’s generosity: “Derek’s wife Susan called me a few days after the end of the Kirkcaldy Parks Half Marathon.
“She said that both she and Derek had wanted to do something for Megan and support us, and that they wanted to donate his winnings from the race in memory of Megan.
“Since Megan’s death in January they have wanted to do something to support us and help us raise awareness.
“I think they felt this was the ideal opportunity to do that given it’s a local race.
“When she told me that this is what she and Derek would like to do I was so thankful, and so overwhelmed.
“I think I cried on the phone and Susan said she didn’t want to upset me but I told her it was a good upset.
“It’s completely overwhelming to see how much everyone is supporting us, and how they are helping to raise money and awareness in Megan’s memory.”
Derek said: “My wife has known both Kelly and Martyn for a lot of years, and we have been actively following all that they have done and are doing to keep the memory of their daughter, Megan, alive.
“Their outstanding effort, determination and positivity which is helping raise funds and awareness for charities helping critically ill children, is why I have chosen to donate the money I received as the the winner of the Kirkcaldy Parks Half Marathon to Megan’s Journey.”
Kelly said as Megan’s illness was so short and sudden the charities and groups, they support are not specific to cancer.
She continued: “The support functions we have chosen to help are there for all ill and/or critically ill children and their families.
“The play staff at Victoria Hospital provide children with an escape from their treatments and do all they can to make being in hospital as enjoyable as it can be.
“Ronald McDonald House Glasgow provides accommodation for families of critically ill children. The accommodation is in the hospital grounds, so you are never far away from your child which is really important.
“The Teapot Trust provide art therapy for chronically ill children - art can be used to express a child’s emotions about something that children should not have to comprehend.”
Kelly said Megan’s Journey began as a Facebook blog that she was going to use to keep family and friends up to date on her daughter’s time at the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow.
Now she said, as well as raising money, Megan’s Journey also aims to promote and enhance the relationship between parents and primary healthcare to allow earlier intervention and diagnosis of rare childhood illnesses.
Kelly added: “There are no words that describe just how thankful I am to Derek and Susan for this donation and the gesture.
“Derek is such an inspiration to others and to have him support our cause is truly amazing.”
Councillor Alistair Cameron, who was part of the organising team behind the half marathon, said: “Derek was very proud and privileged to be part of Kirkcaldy Half Marathon and this particular situation for Megan is very close to home for him.
“He asked me to come along and support it which I was more than happy to do. “Derek and his wife represent the town so well, they are fantastic ambassadors for Kirkcaldy.
“It is a lovely gesture for a great cause.”