Diana, 54, and Adrian Strange, 56, from Birdham near Chichester in West Sussex, raised over £23, 000 for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity in memory of their daughter, Daisy, who died aged 25, at Sunday’s London Marathon, both crossing the finishing line together.
“Running a marathon was a daunting prospect for both,” said Diana, “but Daisy was incredibly grateful to the team at the Royal Marsden for their love, care and support and she wanted to support them in turn.
“Daisy was a talented sportswoman and always dreamed of continuing the sports and hobbies she loved but heartbreakingly she was never given the chance to. So, we decided to run in her memory and it felt like she was with us every step of the way.
“It was an incredibly emotional race for us as we miss her so much, but we hope that her story will inspire other people who are going through similar experiences,” she said.
After suffering from severe pain for many years, Daisy was diagnosed with a rare form of tongue cancer in late 2019. She died just months later, on 11 April 2020.
“She put up a hard, gruelling fight every step of the way,” said Diana, “but Daisy’s life was much more than her cancer diagnosis. ‘Caring’, ‘incredible’ and ‘inspirational’ are just some of the words that have been used to describe her, giving a brief insight as to why she was loved by so many people.
“She achieved so much in her lifetime, earning a sports scholarship to St Bede’s School, captaining countless sports teams, becoming the head of prep girls sport at Seaford College and her incredible hockey career,” she added.
Diana has had health issues of her own, having been diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after Daisy died, and had to undergo surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. She was given the all clear and resumed her training for the London Marathon alongside her husband and Daisy’s father, Adrian.
“We knew it was going to be a tough run but with everyone’s support around us, the love we have from friends and family, and Daisy looking down on us telling us to keep going, we were able to get through it,” said Diana.
The couple hopes that, by raising funds in memory of Daisy, they can prevent anyone else from suffering in the same way their daughter did.
Her family and friends have raised over £80, 000 for The Royal Marsden since her death, and want to set up a foundation in her name that will help others.
“We want to tell people who are worried about their health or the health of their loved ones, not to ignore those concerns or let other people ignore them,” said Daisy.
“Always get checked if you think something’s wrong and never be afraid to make a fuss or ask for a second opinion. If our daughter had been properly diagnosed much earlier, there might have been a very different outcome and Daisy might have been running alongside us today in support of The Royal Marsden as she hoped she would.”