A north-east woman is running the Paris marathon next weekend in memory of her mum, who died from pancreatic cancer.
Kirsty Johnstone, a beautician in Peterculter, hopes to raise awareness of the disease as its survival rates are lagging behind improvements for other cancers.
Her mother Betty O’Shea was unaware of the symptoms when they first emerged in the form of a sore back two years ago.
After losing wight, she was told she had stage four inoperable pancreatic cancer.
Mrs O’Shea stayed with her daughter for a few months, before going to NHS Grampian’s palliative care home Roxburghe House , where she died in April last year.
Mrs Johnstone, 34, said: “I am looking to raise awareness about this terrible disease and to help people recognise the symptoms and act on them as soon as possible.
“My mum went through a hellish, painful heart-breaking death due to a limited knowledge of this form of cancer.
“Pancreatic cancer is still very hard to detect and it’s generally too late once diagnosed.
“Only 4% of people survive a year and best case scenario only 3% survive a maximum five years.”
As well as raising awareness, she will be raising funds for Pancreatic Cancer Action (PCA), which works to improve survival by educating the public and medical community about the disease.
Often referred to as a “silent cancer” because the early signs can be vague and unrecognised, classic symptoms include painless jaundice, unexplained weight loss and abdominal pain.
Other possible signs of pancreatic cancer can include pain in the upper abdomen and back, diabetes, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting.
The Paris marathon is one of Europe’s biggest and will go ahead for the 35th consecutive year on Sunday, April 12.
Mrs Johnstone is no stranger to long distance running, having completed the Edinburgh marathon last year, when she raised funds for Roxburghe House as a tribute to the care which her mother received there.
However, this is likely to be her last major challenge, so she is hoping to go out with a bang.
She said: “I’ve had a few injuries and there are always obstacles but I’m still training hard.”
She has been helped in her fundraising efforts by Kippie Lodge country club in Aberdeen, where she is a member.
Staff there allowed her to use the club as a venue for an evening of entertainment and provided meals free of charge.
The event featured music from Dundee based rock band Bedrock and a variety of raffles.
To support her fundraising efforts go to http://www.justgiving.com?Kirsty-Johnstone6/