Sisters are taking on a marathon challenge in memory of Lynn Ruthven
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Dad Drew was watching the Grand National on the TV with his eldest children Lynn and Craig.
Lynn, then aged 30, had a chat with her dad about her son Calum’s fifth birthday party, which was being held just a week later and which she’d happily arranged.
She then said goodbye and headed home to get ready for a night out…little did Drew know that it was the last time he’d speak to his beloved daughter.
For that night, Lynn, who worked as an NHS nurse, passed away; initially, doctors were unable to conclude the cause. However, eventually the family were told it was Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome, commonly referred to as SADS.
Those affected by SADS usually present no prior symptoms, the structure of the heart appears normal and death cannot be declared as a result of any other reasonable cause.
The family were heartbroken but they did their best to muddle through, even ensuring the party Lynn organised for Calum went ahead as planned.
Her brothers and sisters – Craig, now 39, Jane (31), Andrew (27) and Emma (21) – were devastated by Lynn's sudden death. Even now, 11 years later, it’s hard for them to comprehend.
And it’s for that reason Lynn’s sisters Jane and Emma have decided to run the London Marathon on April 21 next year.
Emma said: “Every week in the UK at least 12 apparently fit and healthy young people die of undiagnosed cardiac conditions.
“We’re running for Cardiac Risk in the Young and have to raise £4000 to take part in the marathon.
“It costs the charity £50 per person to conduct heart screening which can help diagnosis people like Lynn.
“If we can save one family from going through what we did, every penny of fundraising and mile on the marathon will have been absolutely worth it.
“It was awful for us all because it was such a huge shock and came so out of the blue. I was only 10 at the time but I really felt for my dad and Aileen – no parent ever expects to go to their daughter’s funeral.
“Lynn’s son Calum, who is now 16 and lives in Lanark with his dad, is thrilled that we’re doing the marathon in his mum’s memory.
“In fact, all the family are already booked to come down to London that weekend to cheer us on...so we’ve got to do it for them, as well as the charity and Lynn.”
Emma, who is currently studying psychology while also working in residential childcare, may already be well known to our readers. She represented both the U21 and Senior Scottish National Karate teams at ten European and national championships, peaking at number six global ranking when she was 15.
She also remains the only female athlete from Scotland to win a medal at the European championships in her discipline, Kata Karate.
However, having retired three years ago, she claims she needs every bit as much training as Jane to prepare for London.
Jane, who works as a civil servant in Glasgow and has two girls, aged five and eight, is a pretty busy lady but the marathon was actually her suggestion!
Now the sisters are planning to ramp up their training, as well as a series of fundraisers to amass the £4000 they need to raise.
Emma added: “We launched our justgiving page a couple of weeks ago and have already raised £425. We’re also organising a race night by the end of the year.”
As for the training, that too will be ramped up.
Emma added: “We’re hoping to build up to the half marathon mark by Christmas and then build it up more in the New Year. There was talk of dad doing it too but he’s 62 and has a ceramic hip – it’s going to be a big enough struggle for us!”
To support the girls, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jane-emma.