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PCSO to run London Marathon for best friend with incurable cancer

19 Apr 2024 3 minute read
Hannah and Zak

A South Wales Police PSCO will run the London Marathon this weekend for his best friend who was diagnosed with a rare and incurable cancer.

Zak Bird, 28, said his friend Hannah was a keen runner until she started losing weight and began struggling to run her average distances without becoming breathless.

After some tests, she was admitted for a biopsy and was diagnosed with Mesothelioma in May 2023

Mesothelioma is a rare type of lung cancer with around 100 new cases diagnosed each year in Wales.

Zak describes Hannah as “inspirational” as she continues to travel and live her life to the full despite undertaking immunotherapy and chemotherapy at Velindre Hospital in Cardiff.

Hannah, who has just celebrated her 29th birthday, had a positive scan in February after finishing chemotherapy which has allowed her to have a break off treatment for a few months.


Zak from Clydach in Swansea said: “Hannah and her husband Chris are my best friends; I was best man at their wedding so to say Hannah’s cancer diagnosis was a shock is an understatement. Most people would give up, but she’s remained positive and ready to take this massive challenge head on.

“Hannah’s cancer is aggressive and incurable, but she hasn’t let it stop her from living her life. The year she got diagnosed with a rare lung cancer, she got married and applied for a promotion in work. We’ve been blown away by her determination to beat the odds.

“I’m running the London Marathon for Asthma + Lung UK, to help raise awareness of Mesothelioma. No one has heard of it and research is key to finding new treatments. This is my first ever London Marathon and we’re all travelling to London, including Hannah and her husband, Chris. I’m excited to take this amazing challenge on and make some great memories with them all.

“I really appreciate everyone’s donations of over £2100! We have had some great events and raffle prizes including tickets to In It Together Festival and a Gareth Bale football jersey. If you would like to donate, please visit my JustGiving page, every penny counts.

The London Marathon is the second-largest annual road race in the UK, after the Great North Run in Newcastle.

Zak will run the 105th marathon this Sunday (April 21).

Samantha Walker, Director of Research and Innovation at Asthma + Lung UK said: “Hannah is one of 2700 people in the UK diagnosed every year with mesothelioma.2 Most people are over 80 when they are diagnosed, so her case is very rare. Mesothelioma damages the linings of the lungs which over time makes it harder and harder for people to breathe.

“We really appreciate our fundraisers like Zak, who not only raise money to help fund research into new treatments but also raise public awareness of lung conditions too. Funding lung health research has never been a priority, with just 2% of public health funding going towards it.

“Progress towards developing new treatments for the 12 million people affected by lung conditions has stood still for decades. We urgently need more funding into research and innovation to help save lives and find new break-through treatments for people like Hannah so they can live a long and happy life.”

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