Cardiff Half Marathon

Woman taking on Cardiff Half for best friend’s cancer battle

A 32-year-old woman from Caerphilly will be running the Principality Cardiff Half Marathon in support of her best friend who has been battling throat cancer.

Philippa Langley, who works as a team leader for a finance company, will be raising money for Cancer Research Wales as she knows how vital funds are in supporting the charity’s incredible work. She’ll also be taking on the Brecon Carreg Cardiff Bay 10K for them in May.

Jason Maksimovic, 54, was diagnosed with cancer in December 2022, before starting treatment the following month.

Philippa said: “Jason is my best friend. We met about 12 years ago when I was working in a bar and he was working in security. He’s a big man – 6ft and 24st – and you’d have never expect him to become poorly. It was a huge shock.”

Jason endured 35 daily sessions of radiotherapy and six rounds of chemotherapy spread over 16 weeks which caused him to lose his hair and the ability to swallow. As a result Jason has to be tube fed which in turn meant he lost a great deal of weight. However, Philippa was there to support him at all of his appointments and was always there when he needed her most.

Philippa said: “Jason is a very proud man, so initially kept his diagnosis private. It was extremely hard to see him go through it all as he was so ill. I felt so helpless as there wasn’t anything I could do. Jason had a small support network with being so private about the diagnosis, but I checked in on him  every day and was by his side throughout all his treatment.

Thankfully, Jason was given the all clear in August 2023, and continues to have checkups every two months. However, as if he hadn’t already been through enough, he was dealt a further blow last year with his older brother passing away from leukaemia.

Philippa said: “You see the stats that cancer will affect 1 in 2 of us, but you just never think it will be someone you know. I lost my grandad to cancer when I was very young and I think you’re quite ignorant to it until that happens, and then you realise it affects a lot more people than we think.”

Philippa will now be taking on the Brecon Carreg Cardiff Bay 10K on 19th May and the Principality Cardiff Half Marathon on 6th October to raise money for Cancer Research Wales. Although this isn’t the first time she has taken on an epic challenge like this as she has previously completed the Cardiff Half for both the British Heart Foundation and Tŷ Hafan.

She said: “I always take on these challenges for good causes and this year I knew I wanted to support Cancer Research Wales after everything Jason has been through. I’ve seen first-hand how much research is needed and what a fantastic job they do, so I want to help fundraise for the charity’s breakthroughs. As a minimum I’m hoping to raise £500, but I’d really love to reach £1,000 for them.”

Cancer Research Wales is the lead charity partner of the Brecon Carreg Cardiff Bay 10K and Associate Charity Partner of the Principality Cardiff Half Marathon.

Nic Clarke, Fundraising Events Officer at Cancer Research Wales said: “Jason is one of the 20,000 people who receive a life-changing cancer diagnosis each year in Wales. Thanks to research, more and more of those people are also given the all-clear. There is still a lot more research we need do to, so that we can save even more lives. The phenomenal fundraising efforts of our supporters like Philippa are vital to our work, supporting the best scientists and clinicians across Wales. We are truly grateful to everyone running the Brecon Carreg Cardiff Bay 10K and Principality Cardiff Half Marathon for Cancer Research Wales.”

Matt Newman, chief executive at event organisers Run 4 Wales, said: “We are always in awe of our amazing participants taking part in our events for such incredible causes, and Philippa is no exception. We can’t wait to cheer her across the finish lines of both the Brecon Carreg Cardiff Bay 10K and Principality Cardiff Half Marathon as she raises funds for Cancer Research Wales’ vital work.”

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