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'She's like a big sister to me' - Woman with brain tumour taking on London Marathon for childhood best friend

PUBLISHED: 13:02 30 March 2019 | UPDATED: 13:02 30 March 2019

Emily Parr was born with a brain tumour and is now set to compete in the London Marathon to rasie funds for Cystic Fibrosis.
Picture: Nick Butcher

Emily Parr was born with a brain tumour and is now set to compete in the London Marathon to rasie funds for Cystic Fibrosis. Picture: Nick Butcher

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A woman living with disabilities is taking on the London Marathon in support of her childhood best friend, who had a life saving lung transplant last year.

Emily Parr was born with a brain tumour and is now set to compete in the London Marathon to rasie funds for Cystic Fibrosis.
Picture: Nick ButcherEmily Parr was born with a brain tumour and is now set to compete in the London Marathon to rasie funds for Cystic Fibrosis. Picture: Nick Butcher

Emily Parr, 36, from Wymondham, will complete the 26-mile race in a wheelchair in aid of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, having witnessed her lifelong friend live with the condition her entire life.

The 36-year-old social worker was born with a benign brain tumour which was symptomless until her early 20’s.

But for the past few years Ms Parr has found balancing more difficult and said the tumour had caused strength problems in her arms and legs.

Poor health forced the 36-year-old to withdraw from the marathon in 2018, but after months of preparation with a personal trainer Ms Parr said she was determined to cross the finish line for her friend.

Alena Taylor and Emily Parr have been friends since they were children. Photo: SubmittedAlena Taylor and Emily Parr have been friends since they were children. Photo: Submitted

Alena Taylor, whose parents have been friends with Ms Carr’s since school, was born with cystic fibrosis – a genetic condition which affects the lungs, digestive system and other organs.

Ms Parr said: “Alena is like a big sister to me and such an inspiration. We’ve seen each other in hospital at our best and our worst. She’s the reason I’m doing this.”

“The marathon will be hard but its nothing compared to what people with CF go through every day.”

Shortly after turning 38, Ms Taylor’s health nosedived and she was placed on the emergency transplant list.

Alena Taylor and Emily Parr have been friends since they were children. Photo: SubmittedAlena Taylor and Emily Parr have been friends since they were children. Photo: Submitted

Ms Parr said the lung transplant was life changing for her friend, now 43: “She’s doing incredibly. She’s not doing the barrage of drugs and has a full time job. She’s an inspiration after all she’s been through for the way she uses her disability in a positive way to help others.”

The 36-year-old has set up a JustGiving page in aid of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, a charity which supports research into the condition and provides care to patients.

With a month to go until the race, Ms Parr is just over half way to her £2,500 target.

She added: “I’ve set a target but really the sky is the limit. The more we can raise the better.”

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