A fundraiser from Altrincham, who lost her mum to cancer, has completed the 4th of 6 running challenges this year to raise money for The Christie.

Amanda Hargreaves, aged 42, sadly lost her mum Wendy in 1989, when Amanda was just 9 years old, and her mum was only 34.

As an adult, Amanda has dedicated herself to fundraising in memory of her mum and other family members including her grandad who have been treated at The Christie.

She is one of the founding members of the Manchester PA Network, a not-for-profit organisation established in 2011 to provide unique networking opportunities for Personal Assistants and Executive Assistants working in Greater Manchester. The Manchester PA Network donates all monies from events, ticket sales and raffles to The Christie charity, and since its inception, has raised more than £200,000 for the charity.

Inspired by being a spectator at the 2021 Manchester Marathon, and never really having run farther than 10km, Amanda decided that throughout 2022, she would complete a series of 6 running events to gain the unique Christie Challenge medal, those being a 5km, a 10km, a half marathon, a full marathon and 2 ultramarathons. After each of the events is completed, Christie Challenge participants receive 1 of the 6 pieces of the medal. When all 6 challenges are completed, the pieces of the medal all fit together like a jigsaw.

The Christie challenge medals

The most recent challenge Amanda completed was the Peak District ultramarathon in the July heat. She finished the very hilly and challenging 53-kilometre run in just over 10 hours, placing her 29th out of 201 women taking part. “Emotionally, mentally and physically it is the hardest the thing I have ever done”, said Amanda.

Prior to that, she had already completed the Hale 10k run in February 2022, the Paris half marathon in March, and the Manchester marathon in April.

Amanda now plans to run the Altrincham 10k on 4 September and will complete her 6th and final challenge of 2022 with a second ultramarathon, the 52-kilometre Ladybower Ultra Marathon on 15 October.

Speaking about her reasons for supporting The Christie charity, Amanda said: “Losing my mum at a young age was a traumatic loss for me and something that stays with you forever. Whenever I feel challenged when running, I always think about how she was a true fighter, and suffered years of pain and treatments, including the amputation of her leg, just to see me grow up. I miss her every single day but there are always those highs and lows in life where I miss her the most and don’t have her to turn to for her wisdom.
“Without The Christie and its wonderful staff, my mum would have lost her life much sooner. They helped mum with the little things, like finding a wig when her hair fell out, recommended holistic therapists who would help ease her pain, and were just there for her and my family at every turn.
“I spent lots of time at The Christie with my mum, and as I grew older I wanted to give something back to the hospital. When the Manchester PA Network was set up, my fellow co-founder Mel and I decided that the network should raise money for The Christie through our events and by encouraging members to take up personal challenges. 
“Cancer touches every family, so to have witnessed the network grow over the last 11 years and to hear the stories behind the people we have inspired is amazing. Our initial target was to raise £10,000, but everybody who has been part of the network over the last 11 years has helped it grow and been part of the phenomenal fundraising effort which has surpassed all of our original expectations. It is my greatest achievement and I do like to think that my mum would be incredibly proud too!”

Left: Amanda as a baby with her mum Wendy; Right: Amanda during the Peak District ultramarathon

Lindsey Farthing from The Christie charity said: “Amanda is extremely passionate about The Christie and is a huge supporter of our charity. I don’t think there is a sporting challenge she hasn’t done. Her challenges in 2022 are all the more remarkable because by her own admission she loathed running before she started this challenge.”

To find out more about The Christie Challenge, please visit our Christie Challenge page.

The Christie charity supports the work of The Christie NHS Foundation Trust providing enhanced services over and above what the NHS funds. This includes money for care and treatment, research, education and extra patient services. Gifts from the public make a huge difference to the care and treatment that The Christie is able to provide to patients and their families.