Sisters want to raise money for charities that saved Melford mum

Katie and Lucy McLernon who are raising money for tow charities which helped their mum, Carol.
Katie and Lucy McLernon who are raising money for tow charities which helped their mum, Carol.

Two sisters are set to embark on a fundraising challenge of a lifetime – inspired by their mum, who came close to dying.

Katie McLernon, 28, is going to attempt an ironman challenge with her sister Lucy, 25, in support of two charities which helped save their mum’s life.

In August, Carol McLernon, 53, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) and was given just one week to live unless she received immediate chemotherapy.

Following a course of intensive treatment at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, Carol then developed pneumonia, which left her in a coma.

“Mum was in an induced coma for five weeks and it was absolutely terrifying,” said Katie.

“She was on steroids so strong that doctors said they would either kill her or save her – and it was touch and go all the way.

“When she came round, she couldn’t talk, walk or even turn over in bed.

“A brain scan revealed she had also had a stroke.”

Carol, who previously went to aerobics three times a week, pilates twice a week and was a riding instructor, recovered enough for a second dose of chemotherapy.

She has since had three more and is back home in Long Melford, being looked after by her daughters.

Katie and Lucy are now in training to take part in an ironman event, called the Lakesman Triathlon, in Keswick, Cumbria, on Sunday, June 18.

The challenge will see them swim 2.4 miles in open water, cycle for 112 miles and run a marathon – all within 17 hours.

They are raising money for West Suffolk Hospital’s My WiSH charity and Bloodwise, a UK blood cancer charity.

They hope to donate the money to West Suffolk Hospital’s stroke unit, where Carol was looked after.

“Neither of us have done anything like this before, apart from ride a bike when we were young and swim a couple of lengths while on holiday,” said Katie.

“We have been training though for six months by swimming three times a week, cycling and running twice a week and we have just started open swimming in a lake.

“It has been the thought of this challenge which has kept us going, giving us a focus during everything that has happened over the last few months.”

q To donate to the cause, go online at uk.virginmoneygiving.com and search for Mclernon.