Friends complete challenge to boost mum’s cancer fund

Laura Bonner, Tom Bonner , Emily Sayles, Ian Smith and Gemma Smith before completing the Survial of

Laura Bonner, Tom Bonner , Emily Sayles, Ian Smith and Gemma Smith before completing the Survial of the Fittest challenge. - Credit: Archant

A group of friends have completed a gruelling 10k challenge overcoming 75 obstacles along the route to raise money for a young mother of three who has incurable cancer.

Sarah McAllister with her partner Lee Effemy and two of her children Sid and Elsie-Mai.

Sarah McAllister with her partner Lee Effemy and two of her children Sid and Elsie-Mai. - Credit: James Bass

Sarah McAllister, 34, from Worlingham, is facing a desperate race against time to create special memories for her children Elsie-Mai, seven, Sid, three, and six-month-old Albert, after being told the skin cancer she was diagnosed with has spread to her brain, lungs, liver and spine.

An online campaign was launched in August to raise funds for the family to spend on activities and trips away to make whatever time they have left together magical.

And this week, the fundraising pot was given another boost after Gemma Smith and her husband Ian, along with friends Emily Sayles, Laura Bonner and Tom Bonner, battled freezing conditions to take part in the Survival of the Fittest challenge at Wembley Park in London.

The Beccles team, who called themselves Sarah's Soldiers, took part in the obstacle course alongside 10,000 other people last Saturday, which included running through a river and swinging on monkey bars.

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Mrs Smith, 36, said: 'Our children are in the same class as Sarah's daughter at school and she told us what she was going through.

'We decided that we wanted to do something as a challenge for us and to raise money for her to give her family some memories.

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'We decided to do it at the end of August so we only had ten weeks to do some training. But when we told Sarah what we were doing she was over the moon.

'It was really tough and the weather didn't help because it was so cold and part of it was running through a river.

'But when we finished we all felt really emotional. We were so pleased we had done it and the pain we went through was nothing compared to what Sarah is facing.'

The group have raised around £1,600 which will add to the £4,400 already raised online.

Mrs Smith added: 'I think because she is a young mum with three children and because Worlingham is such a close community everyone wants to help.

'We would like to say a big thank you to everyone who sponsored us.'

Miss McAllister's ordeal began two years ago when she had a mole removed from her ear and was diagnosed with skin cancer.

She had an operation to remove the mole and the top part of her ear and lymph nodes. However when she was pregnant with Albert, she suffered severe back pains which left her unable to stand for more than a few seconds.

After giving birth and returning home she was still in so much pain she was unable to walk. A CT scan then revealed her cancer had come back and had spread to other places.

Following surgery to decompress her spine, Miss McAllister was given new tablets to try to shrink the tumours, or at least stop them spreading.

Speaking this week she said: 'I had a CT scan last month to see how the treatment was working and it has shrunk the tumours.

'I am still on treatment and they won't ever go completely but it should keep them at bay and hopefully keep me here longer which is brilliant news.'

Miss McAllister, who lives with her partner Lee Effemy, has just returned from a trip to Center Parcs with her family, and last month spent the weekend at Alton Towers - all paid for using the online fund.

She said: 'We had a lovely time. It was really relaxing and it was nice to spend some time with the children.

'I have been overwhelmed with people's generosity. I just can't believe what amazing friends I have.'

And Miss McAllister has also set a date in March to marry her partner.

'I've got the dress and I have booked the venue. We have used some of the Go Fund Me money towards it,' she said.

To support the family's fundraising, visit

•Are you raising money for something special? Email

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