Friend’s cancer battle inspires 1,000km charity effort

Stephanie Kirk-Bray, who has run 1,000km in a year, alongside friend Jo Oliver who had breast cancer.

Stephanie Kirk-Bray, who has run 1,000km in a year, alongside friend Jo Oliver who had breast cancer.

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Last night marked the end of an unforgettable year for a Scarborough woman who has ran 1,000km in aid of a breast cancer charity.

Stephanie Kirk-Bray was inspired to begin fundraising after a number of people close to her got the disease including best friend Jo Oliver, who was diagnosed in August 2015.

The 39 year old said: “Jo is so strong-minded and a rock and after her diagnosis she was frightened. It was horrible to witness and I felt like I needed to do something.”

Stephanie, who only started running in January 2015, decided to raise money for Breast Cancer Now and set a £1,000 target with her first event on October 16, 2015, the date of Jo’s mastectomy.

Asking what was the toughest part of the year, which included York Marathon, Race for Life and Yorkshire Warrior, Stephanie had no doubt.

“The Great North Run - it was horrendous,” she said. “My hips were killing and I was struggling to put one foot in front of another.”

Stephanie endured an emotional end to her quest yesterday evening (October 13) with a 5km loop starting from the Sea Life Centre at 7pm with Jo to run the last 100 metres.

Jo, 51, will be cancer-free for a year at the end of this month. She said: “Steph is so inspirational. She is a crazy kind of girl and I take my hat off to her. I am still going through reconstruction but things are looking positive. I feel blessed that my cancer was seen early on.”

After a “brilliant” year which has seen her raise £1,500 already, Stephanie is looking forward to celebrating in style.

She said: “Thanks to everyone for their help and donations. I can’t wait to be drinking champagne and eating whatever I like!”

People can still donate at http://bit.ly/2e6fKOE