Ann's marathon effort for Dementia Appeal

Ann McGovern

Published on 19 February 2020

A charity champion is preparing to tackle her first marathon – despite being diagnosed with cancer.

Ann McGovern aims to complete the Brighton marathon in April as part of her fundraising to improve dementia care at East Kent Hospitals.

She has pledged to raise £8,000 for East Kent Hospitals Charity’s Dementia Appeal, and has not let a diagnosis of follicular lymphoma slow her down.

She said: “I’m not a runner at all, and I’m aiming just to complete the marathon rather than set a time target – it could very well take seven hours!

“My husband and my friend Michaela are doing it with me and we have been training by doing long walks in the woods and hills around Folkestone.

“I’m lucky that I feel really well, despite my diagnosis. I had to have a whole lymph node removed but apart from that my consultant is happy to watch and wait and I may not need any further treatment.”

Ann, from Folkestone, works as a dementia associate practitioner at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford. She joined the team two years ago after 16 years working in elderly and stroke care for the Trust.

She said: “When I joined the team I said I would fundraise for an interactive projector for our patients, and I have already raised £5,500.

“My target is £8,000 but we were able to buy the device and start using it on the wards and it’s just been amazing.

“I’ve had one man up and dancing, and another who loves painting was able to ‘paint’ with colours on it.

“It’s such a fantastic piece of equipment and really makes a difference to our patients.”

Although Ann’s focus at the moment is the Dementia Appeal, she has raised more than £50,000 in total for a range of charities.

Her fundraising drive started after her brother was tragically found dead on Christmas Day, aged just 19. He had been suffering from undiagnosed diabetes.

Ann said: “That is where it started. I did a swim for a diabetes charity, but I’ve also walked the Inca trail in Peru, walked from London to Brighton twice and cycled it once, and we are contemplating a team parachute jump for Dementia Action Week in May.”

The grandmother of two also set up a residents’ association more than 10 years ago, runs a youth group and organises a Christmas party for local children, and involves older residents on a community garden. She is also a member of Folkestone Lions Club.

Ann was awarded the British Empire Medal in 2018 in recognition of her community and fundraising work.

To sponsor her, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ann-mcgovern9

For more information on the Dementia Appeal, visit https://www.ekhcharity.org.uk/about-us/dementia-appeal/