Freedom 90 George Michael Download 'Freedom 90' on iTunes
1 September 2017, 07:36
More than £10 million has been raised for charity in the name of inspirational fundraiser Jane Tomlinson, her family has announced as they prepare to mark the 10th anniversary of her death.
Mrs Tomlinson amazed the world when she undertook a series of gruelling and unprecedented sporting challenges as she battled incurable cancer.
The mother-of-three was 43 when she died on September 3 2007, seven years after she was told she had months to live.
Before her death, Mrs Tomlinson, from Leeds, had raised £1.8 million for charity.
Her family has announced that the Jane Tomlinson Appeal's fundraising tally now stands at more than £10 million.
Mrs Tomlinson's husband Mike said: "I would hope Jane would be happy with what has now been achieved.
"She raised a lot of money during her lifetime but, for everything that she went through, for all of her efforts and everything she endured, it never really seemed enough to me.
"She did a TV interview not long before she died and the interviewer asked her if it had all been worth it. At the time she said 'no'.
"If she was still here, I'd like to think she would now say 'yes'."
Mrs Tomlinson was 36 when she was diagnosed with incurable breast cancer in August 2000.
Despite being told she had six months to live, she spent the next seven years undertaking an increasingly unbelievable series of challenges - many undertaken while receiving harsh chemotherapy treatments and while in severe pain.
These included a Rome To Home cycle ride, the New York and London marathons, an ironman and her final adventure - a 4,200-mile ride across the USA.
She said she was determined to show that people with incurable cancer could still lead active and fulfilling lives.
The funds she raised paved the way for the first Leeds 10K charity road race and that event grew into a series which includes ten 10Ks, two half marathons, a marathon, a 10-mile run and a series of junior and family runs.
Mr Tomlinson said: "The high points were watching Jane finishing the Florida ironman. It was just inconceivable that this woman, who had been given months to live, who had never really done any sport, four years later, was doing this. It seems completely fanciful - and it was.
"The ride across America was incredible. Jane was struggling just to stay alive, never mind cycle over 4,000 miles. I will never know how she did that.
"And, the look on Jane's face when she saw her mum cross the finish line of the Leeds 10K in 2007. It was the culmination of five years' of hard work and I'll never forget that."
The cash raised during her life and in her memory has benefited scores of causes, from children's hospices to cancer support centres.
It has also seen the launch of a research project at Leeds Beckett University to examine whether a sports medicine treatment Mrs Tomlinson received in the last months of her life could benefit others.
Mr Tomlinson said: "For us, it was never about creating a legacy for Jane. It was ensuring that the fundraising could go on. The charities that she had supported, and many more, still needed us."
He said: "None of this would have been possible without the support of lots and lots of people. Without them it would not have happened. So, no, I'm not proud; I'm just incredibly grateful."