Team from Solihull vet hospital to run cancer fundraiser in memory of inspirational late colleague - The Solihull Observer

Team from Solihull vet hospital to run cancer fundraiser in memory of inspirational late colleague

Solihull Editorial 7th Feb, 2020 Updated: 7th Feb, 2020   0

THE heartache of losing a colleague to cancer is the inspiration for team members at a West Midlands veterinary hospital to take on a 10K charity run at the weekend.

A determined team of 13 ‘Titanium Warriors’ from Willows Veterinary Centre and Referral Service, in Solihull, will be tackling Cancer Research UK’s London Winter Run in the capital on Sunday (February 9).

Many of the team are new to running yet they’ve spent the winter pounding the streets in the cold and rain, nursing aching muscles, cramps and blisters, to get ready for the big fund-raiser.

Alessandra Mathis, head of anaesthesia at Willows who spearheaded the group of runners and is herself part of the team, explained: “This incredible winter run challenge has been driven by the loss of Carole Taylor, a dear colleague and friend who we lost to cancer last year.

“Carole worked as a veterinary nurse at Willows for five years, two of which she was fighting cancer.

“She was a true inspiration who absolutely loved running and was often the first to take up a new challenge just like we are doing now.

“Our determination to do this has been further fuelled by one of our team members who’s running with us, as she was diagnosed with cancer last year and yet is still taking part in the race.”

Julie Hitchins, a purchasing analyst with Willows’ parent company Linnaeus, underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy in November as she fought her own battle with cancer.

Julie said: “When I was asked if I wanted to enter the 10K I have to say I was not feeling good at that point.

“However, I knew that pushing myself would make me feel better eventually and despite suffering from chemotherapy induced neuropathy, which means I have a numb foot when I am running, I really wanted to take up this opportunity to raise money for Cancer Research.

“It’s a big challenge but we have all supported each other in training, which has been wonderful.

“Each and every one of us has been affected by cancer in some form be it directly, a loved one, a friend, or a colleague.

“Unfortunately, it is far too prevalent, affecting lives all around the world every single day. That’s why we’re standing shoulder to shoulder against cancer and are aiming to raise as much money and awareness as we can for Cancer Research UK.”

Last year’s winter run saw 23,000 runners take part and this year organisers are hoping to raise £750,000 for Cancer Research UK.

The 10k run starts in Trafalgar Square and sets off along the Strand past the Adelphi Theatre, Savoy Hotel and Royal Courts of Justice.

The runners continue through the City of London to the London Stock Exchange, on to St Mary Le Bow church, the Bank of England, Mansion House and St Paul’s Cathedral.

They then circle back towards Whitehall, passing Kings College London, Somerset House and Charing Cross Station before finishing in Westminster, just before Downing Street.

If you’d like to donate to the Willows team please visit:

To find out more about Willows’ wide range of specialist services, visit or search for Willows Veterinary Centre and Referral Service on Facebook.

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