Fran Fryer-Smith, a third-year BSc (Hons) Agribusiness Management student, will be running the London Marathon on 23 April in aid of Severn Hospice, a charity extremely close to her heart.
She said: “I chose to put myself forward for the London Marathon on behalf of Severn Hospice because I wanted to do something memorable whilst raising money for a fantastic charity.
“If you had asked me a year ago if I would be running the London Marathon in only a few months, I would not have even entertained the idea. What made me change my mind was the idea of achieving something astounding whilst raising money for a charity that I now have personal connections with.”
Severn Hospice gives specialist care and support free of charge to families across Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Mid Wales who are living with an incurable illness.
The charity cared for Fran’s mum and family before she passed away from Stage 4 bowel cancer in early May 2022, having been diagnosed two months earlier.
Fran added: “I never really had time to adjust or process what was going on as when I did, other things would come up. It affected me massively as we had such a close relationship and I struggled to accept it all for a while.
“University kind of took a backseat for me during that time, but I cannot fault the amount of support I was given, from emotional support to deadlines and exams.”
Once Fran secured her place for the marathon, she began her full training plan at the start of January.
She added: “I've never really done much running apart from completing the odd 5k and 10k fun runs, so I knew it was going to be a challenge from the start.
“I've had a lot of support from my friends and family who have been joining me on runs and boosting morale when needed.
“My main challenge so far is the actual distance of 26.2 miles! I've increased my distance week by week to ensure I can complete the distance.”
However, Fran is no stranger to a daring challenge, as she has previously raised £2899 through donations and a charity skydive in September.
“I would call myself a bit of an adrenaline junkie, which is also a reason why I put myself forward for the London Marathon. Again, I had never imagined I would ever be throwing myself out of a plane, but I did! Of course, there were some nerves, but they were quickly overcome with the fact that there was no turning back.
“The experience itself was amazing and I'm sure most people who have done the same thing will agree that once you land, you want to do it all over again!”
“The Severn Hospice cared for my mum and our family throughout the worst time of our lives.
“They went above and beyond to look after all of us and take the pressure off us as a family. From twice daily visits, night stays, and even just there for a shoulder to cry on.
“The least I could do is raise as much money as possible in memory of my Mum, but also help such a great charity who truly do go above and beyond.”
Now a third-year student, Fran is six months into her placement at Dechra Pharmaceuticals in Hadnall, Shrewsbury, working within the international division on finance and marketing.
“It has absolutely flown by already and has been a great opportunity that has allowed me to expand my knowledge and understanding of the veterinary pharmaceutical industry.”
You can donate and show support through Fran’s JustGiving page here.