A South Somercotes woman will tackle a gruelling half-marathon in just two weeks time, raising money for her friend who sadly died at the age of 18 earlier this year.
Hollie Jo Topliss, 21, is preparing to take part in the Great Birmingham Run - the UK’s second biggest annual half marathon event - on Sunday October 15.
Hollie Jo, who currently studying at Birmingham University, will raise money for two causes that are close to her heart: the Teenage Cancer Trust, and the mental health charity Young Minds.
She was inspired to run in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust following the death of her friend, Jake Havercroft, who sadly died on August 9 following a short battle with cancer. At the time of his death, Jake was just one week away from receiving his A-Level results at Monks’ Dyke Tennyson College.
Hollie Jo told the Leader: “I have known Jake for a long time, since we were young.
“My friend is with his brother, and my boyfriend is his cousin. It is a tragedy that Jake died so young - he was a legend.
“When I was deciding which charities to run for, I chose to help raise awareness as Jake suffered with a rare form of cancer which doesn’t usually occur in men before around 40 years old.”
Hollie Jo chose to support her other charity, Young Minds, as it is close to her heart due to the personal battles with mental health that she and her sister, Amy, have faced.
Hollie Jo is currently in the final year of her three year university course in mental health nursing.
She said: “I started running over a year ago, since I started university.
“I decided to take my running a step further, and started training towards the half marathon in May this year. I am now able to run the 13.1 mile distance.”
At the time of the interview, last week, Hollie Jo said she was hoping to raise around £200 for each of her two charities.
However, thanks to the generosity of her friends, family and well-wishers, she has now raised around £300 for the Teenage Cancer Trust, and almost £150 for Young Minds.
She added that she was ‘super happy’ with this sum, and wishes to thank everyone who has kindly made a donation so far.
If you would like to sponsor Hollie Jo, visit her fundraising page at www.justgiving.com/teams/Hollieshalfmarathon.
From there, you can follow the links at the bottom of the web page to donate to either the Teenage Cancer Trust or Young Minds.