A Scottish man will be donning a tartan bra and running 96 gruelling miles in just three days to raise money for his sister’s cancer treatment.
Civil engineer Alan Blacklaws (38) plans to complete his challenge by then climbing Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis, following his run of the West Highland Way which starts in Milngavie on Thursday, August 25.
Alan’s sister, mum-of-two Julie Strelley-Jones (44) has incurable inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) - a rare and aggressive form of the disease not usually identified by a lump in the breast. He hopes his efforts will also help raise awareness of this type of cancer.
By wearing a tartan bra throughout the challenge and for training, father-of-one Alan, who now lives in Edinburgh, hopes to raise some eyebrows - and some smiles.
But his main intention is serious, to get people talking about IBC and donating to the cause which is extremely close to his heart.
Alan said: “I don’t think Julie ever imagined she’d have to fundraise for treatment. She has been living with IBC since 2012. Following intense treatment she was found to have secondary breast cancer in 2014 and the disease had spread to her liver, lungs, bones and brain.
“Her body is starting to struggle with the ongoing chemotherapy treatment and so we are now raising funds for treatments unavailable on the NHS, in the UK and abroad. Our family and friends will try to do anything we can to give her more time with us.”
A civil engineer with firm Sweco, Alan chose to do the West Highland Way challenge because it’s something he has always wanted to do and will do whatever he can to help his sister. He began training in February and has put in around 60 hours and over 400 miles in preparation.
For details on how to donate, please visit https://www.gofundme.com/24ed2hfb. Alan’s challenge can also be supported through Facebook – Man in a bra.
Alan will be supported during the challenge by friends and is keen for any well-wishers to join him as he makes his way from Milngavie to Fort William. Alan’s family, including his wife Lynne and young daughter Lucy will be there to congratulate him at the end.
For London-based Julie, a former teacher, Alan’s fundraiser means the world. She said: “I am extremely proud of my brother and it means everything to me that he is carrying out this huge challenge. Thank you so much to Alan, his support team and to all those who have donated.”