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News > Fundraising Hero Raises Over £2,000 in Memory of Her Mum

Fundraising Hero Raises Over £2,000 in Memory of Her Mum

Jacqueline O’Neill, 44, lives in Irvine, Ayrshire, with her partner and four-year-old daughter. She took part in the Great Scottish Run in Glasgow on October 2 in memory of her mum Jean and on behalf of Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, raising more than £2,000 for the organisation so far.

As race preparation goes, hers was far from ideal, but Jacqueline O’Neill was determined not to let a chest infection get in the way of completing her goal. And she didn’t.

On Sunday, October 2, Jacqueline, 44, rose to the challenge of running 13 miles in the Great Scottish Run and has raised more than £2,000 so far for Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland in memory of her late mum, Jean.

An area sales manager, Jacqueline says: “I won’t lie, I felt so ill when I finished. But I did finish. My friend Jennifer ran with me every step of the way, and we’d made a pact that we would finish together, and we did.

Jacqueline and Jennifer running 13 miles in the Great Scottish Run

“I kept thinking of mum when I was running. She’d have told me not to be so daft and to stop because I was hurting so much!

“But I was determined to finish and when I was finally able to breathe, it meant so much to see all my family and friends there.”

Jacqueline, who lives in Irvine, Ayrshire, with her partner and daughter Gracie-Jean, four, only decided to enter the Great Scottish Run on a whim. Her running partner had a slot but then landed a place in the London Marathon, which also took place on October 2.

Before she really realised what she was doing, Jacqueline had committed to running a half-marathon. It was then she decided she’d do the race in honour of mum Jean, who passed away in October 2021. Picking Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland was easy because both Jean and Jacqueline’s dad Paddy had heart and stroke conditions.

I kept thinking of mum when I was running.

She says: “Mum had had a stroke about 11 years ago that left with her weakness on her right side and with cognitive issues. She was still able to get around with her Zimmer, but she wasn’t the mum she had been anymore.

“Then she became ill last October. The doctors said it was an undiagnosed heart condition. She was taken into hospital, then released, but she became unconscious overnight and had to be readmitted. She never came home.

“It was a very traumatic time for all of us. We’d lost my gran almost exactly a year earlier, too. I hadn’t been coping emotionally or mentally after gran died, so I started going to the gym and running. I wanted to do something physical.

“I stopped running after mum died and only started again in March. And that’s when I found myself saying ‘I’ll take your place’ when my running partner Fiona said she was going to do the London Marathon and not the Great Scottish Run. When I got home, I thought ‘what have I done?’.”

Jacqueline with her medal after completing the Great Scottish Run and raising over £2000 to help families affected by stroke and heart conditions!

Coming down with a chest infection two weeks before the big day wasn’t in Jacqueline’s plans, but she decided she hadn’t come all this way only to fall at the final hurdle.

She says: “We did it in 2hrs 13 minutes, which was amazing considering how hard the course is and how sore my chest and legs felt. I was a bit gutted, though – I wanted to be below the two-hour mark!

“My dad was waiting for me on the finish line with all my family and friends, and that was a lovely moment. I gave dad my medal, too.

“I hated every minute, but I’m going to do it again. I saw so many people on the run who inspired me, so I’ll keep going.”

You can still donate to Jacqueline’s total for Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland at her Justgiving page

Donate to Jacqueline

People are leaving hospital feeling scared and alone. You can change that.

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