Darwen woman's marathon effort
Diane Cooke meets the woman who went from couch potato to fundraising runner after losing a whopping eight stones
WHEN Stacey Lloyd’s mum died and she became joint carer for her disabled brother, she sought solace in food.
Now 8 stones 3lbs lighter and five dress sizes smaller, the Darwen social worker has discovered marathon running and re-invented her life.
And tomorrow she will be raising money for charity by running through the streets of New York in a spangly bra and pink tutu in the world-famous marathon.
It’s a cause close to Stacey’s heart. Her mum died of lung cancer at the age of 53. Her brother Mark, 34, developed brain tumours as a child, which caused his severe disability.
She also has three friends with cancer, one of whom is terminally ill.
“I am surrounded by cancer. So that’s why I’ve put on my running shoes – to try to do something about it.”
But it’s something she couldn’t have contemplated two years’ ago when she was eight stones heavier.
“I’d always been big, but when my mum died in 2008 and my stepdad and I became the carers for my brother who has severe learning difficulties, I just piled on the pounds.
“I tried every diet, even slimming pills, but nothing worked. I was desperate. I used to eat ridiculous amounts of comfort foods, loads of sweets and chocolate. I would stay in every night eating because I didn’t have anything else to do. The more I ate, the more I hated myself, so the more I ate. It was a vicious circle.”
She got so low that the only way up was to take action, so Stacey sought out her local Slimming World group in Darwen.
“I was horrified and overwhelmed when I stepped on the scales, but the consultant, Karen, was really lovely – she weighed me and made me feel at ease and suggested one stone at a time. I’m a competitive girl and receiving the weight loss certificates each week gave me a real buzz and kept me motivated.” And Stacey, 38, is now super-active. She visits the gym several times a week, takes part in military fitness sessions and swims regularly.
She’s also learned to scuba dive with Canary Divers of Blackburn, taking part in regular dives at a quarry in Carnforth – and is now an advanced open water diver.
“I would never have contemplated diving before because I couldn’t bear the thought of putting on a wet suit.”
Stacey has completed several marathon events and raised over £5,000 for charity, but the New York Marathon tomorrow is the highlight of her running calendar. She will be taking part on behalf of Walk The Walk breast cancer charity.
Next year she will be running three marathons in three months, including the London Marathon on behalf of Slimmming World. “Losing weight has helped me to change my life. I’ve gone from couch potato to a girl I barely recognise.
“I have bags of energy, loads of confidence to do new things and now love my life... and food. My friends, colleagues and Slimming World group members say I’m an inspiration. If I can help just one other person then that would be amazing. If I can do it anyone can.”
- If you’d like to sponsor Stacey, then go to website http://www.walkthewalkfundraising.org/stacey_lloyd__ayriss.
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