Jo Attfield: Why I’m walking the Gower Macmarathon in memory of Bethan

This Saturday 17 September will see hundreds of Macmillan supporters taking part in the Gower Macmarathon – a scenic walk of either 22, 14 or two miles across the beautiful beaches of the Gower Peninsular.

Last year, the event raised an incredible £174,000 – enough to fund a Macmillan nurse for over three years.

This year’s walk looks set to be just as successful with 1,189 walkers signed up and tens of thousands of pounds already raised in sponsorship.

One of those taking part is Jo Attfield, a lecturer from Sketty in Swansea.

She is walking the 14-mile route in memory of her daughter Bethan, who died 10 years ago this month of leukaemia, aged just five.


Jo Attfield is running in memory of Bethan

As Jo explains, “Bethan was diagnosed at the beginning of September when she was just about to start year one (at school). She died quite quickly, not responding properly to treatment, three and a half weeks later.

“We had another daughter, a baby, Rosie, at the time who is now 10 years old. She grew up without her sister but has a seven year old brother Gruff, who never knew Bethan.

“The anniversary of her death is always a hard time of the year. The pain of her loss doesn’t go away, though we live happily enough alongside it.”

Jo will be joined on the route by three friends, Rachel and Linda, a couple from Cardiff, and her walking buddy Kate from Swansea.

Jo says, “It is lovely to raise money in remembrance of Bethan and people have very kindly remembered her on my Just Giving page.

“It is so important for us for her to be talked about and remembered.”

Kathryn Morgan, South West Wales Area Fundraising Manager for Macmillan Cancer Support, said, “The whole Macmillan team were deeply moved when we heard that Jo was taking part in the Gower Macmarathon in memory of Bethan.

“The pain of losing a child will never go away, but we are full of admiration that Jo is continuing to keep her memory alive by taking part in events such as this one to help raise money for other cancer patients.

“We would like to wish Jo all the best for the Gower Macmarathon on Saturday and extend our thanks to her, and all the other walkers taking part, for their incredible fundraising efforts for Macmillan.

“Events such as this are vital in supporting the work we do in Wales, such as funding Macmillan professionals to support people affected by cancer, our information centres in some of Wales’s hospitals, as well as campaigning for better cancer care for patients.”

You can sponsor Jo here, or send her a message of support in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

Are you taking part in a fundraising event for Macmillan? We’d love to hear your story. Tweet us @MacmillanCymru or visit our Facebook page at


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