A WOMAN is preparing to run 26.2 miles for a cause close to her heart.
Sara Petipher, from Hilsea, is taking on the London Marathon for the first time for the Alzheimer’s Society after her mum was diagnosed with the disease three years ago.
As well was training for the gruelling race, the 38-year-old also organised fundraising events to boost donations for the charity.
Sara’s mum Susan Forsyth, from Milton, has lived in the city most of her life and is known by hundreds of people as a mental health counsellor.
The 72-year-old is being cared for by her family and Sara wanted to do something to stop other families having to suffer the same fate.
The Alzheimer’s Society supports families of people with dementia and also researches into the condition.
Sara, deputy headteacher of Copnor Primary School, said: ‘It has been extremely difficult for my sisters and I to see the change in our mum.
‘The disease has shattered the happy family we once were.
‘I am trying to help so that in the future no other families have to lose their loved ones to this cruel disease.
‘My fundraising target is £2,000 but I hope to raise more than this if I can.
‘I have been overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of people’s support for these events.’ Although this is the first time Sara has done the London Marathon, two years ago she completed the Brighton Marathon.
So far, she has reached 20 miles and is hoping to finish the course in under five hours.
She added: ‘After the Brighton race I totally let my fitness go so it was like starting from the beginning.
‘But training has gone really well and I aim to finish in less than five hours, four-and-a-half would be brilliant.’
Last month Sara organised an afternoon tea with bingo and a raffle at Copnor Primary School. She also held an Easter disco for hundreds of children. Both events were a huge success raising hundreds of pounds towards her £2,000 target, which has now been reached.
Sara said: ‘The afternoon tea raised £700 in ticket sales and £500 in raffle sales on the day.
‘The disco raised £400 in ticket sales and another £400 on the day.
‘I am so pleased to have raised £2,000 already and it is all down to the amazing support of my family and friends.’
To donate visit justgiving.com/fundraising/sara-petipher1.