This Saturday will be the 12th Annual Race Night in memory of Lisa Ogden at the Irlam Steel Club, but this year, funds are being raised for a new project.

After a career break to travel Thailand, Australia and New Zealand with her partner, Lisa returned to the UK with a teaching career, helping those with behavioural issues.

Julia Ogden, Lisa’s mother said:

“She was such an outgoing girl, and had all these plans to get married and start a family.”

Less than a year after her travels, and only 3 months into her new career, Lisa became unwell. In January 2006, Lisa was diagnosed with a rare type of ovarian cancer, and following a course of chemotherapy scans, it was revealed that the cancer had spread.

In May 2007, aged 31, 16 months after first diagnosis, Lisa died.

During this time in hospital, a social worker told Lisa about the Willow Foundation.

The Willow Foundation was set up by Bob Wilson, ex-Arsenal goal keeper and TV presenter and his wife Meg in memory of their daughter, Anna, nicknames Willow, who died aged 31 following five years of cancer. Willow provide ‘Special Days’ to young adults aged 16 to 40 years with life limiting illnesses.

Lisa had a ‘special day’ in which she and her partner travelled to Edinburgh, to the Military Tattoo. Willow took care of her, by providing transport from door to door, letting them stay in that 5* accomodation, and helping them with spending money.

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“This gave Lisa something to look forward to, and provided some normality to what had become of her hospital appointment filled life.”

The first race night was arranged by Lisa’s friends, who planned it in the same month as her birthday as a way for family and friends to get together and remember her. After two years, Lisa’s mum Julia took over and ever since, the community of Irlam has rallied together.

After the care the Willow had given Lisa, she vowed that upon her recovery she would raise funds for the foundation. After her passing, her family took up her aim, and have since raised over £10,000.

“Lisa always loved running and every now and then I joined her, but after she grew ill, she couldn’t run. So after she died, I ran for her. I started running for fun, but eventually turned that love to marathons and helping raise money for the charity that gave Lisa so much.”

Next year, the family are setting their sights higher because, as well as the annual race night, Lisa’s brother and auntie will be venturing to The Great Wall of China for Willow.

For more information about the race night, visit the Facebook page, or check the map below for it’s location.

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