A MONTROSE woman will run the Edinburgh Marathon next Sunday in memory of her son who took his own life last year.
Jackie Thomson, who will be joined by her cousin, Sue Pilat, will also use the event to raise money for Papyrus, a national charity which offers support for young people at risk of suicide.
Although the charity is UK-wide, its head office is in England and Jackie said she has also been discussing with its chief executive officer the possibility of opening an office in Scotland.
Her son, Gowan, took his own life last August aged just 21 which, she said, has left the family “utterly lost and devastated”.
Jackie continued: “We can’t bring Gowan back but perhaps by doing this we can help save another young life and perhaps keep Gowan’s memory alive.”
She had already signed up to run the marathon when Gowan died and decided to continue with her training after Sue suggested running for charity. A marathon veteran, Jackie has taken on challenges in the past including the London and Edinburgh Marathons and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania for a children’s leukaemia charity.
Jackie said: “We felt that if we were doing it we should do something for suicide prevention. Papyrus helps with counselling and support and they do fantastic work.
“I try to run regularly despite a hip problem, but I keep going anyway. I talk to Gowan as I run and that helps me get up the hills. From now on all my fund-raising will be for Papyrus.”
The charity was founded in 1997 as the Parents’ Association for the Prevention of Young Suicide by a Lancashire mother, Jean Kerr, and a group of parents who had all lost children through suicide. They wanted to do something positive to prevent similar tragedies happening to young people, their families and friends.
Jackie said: “Their head office is in England but it is a UK-wide charity. I’ve been in discussions with Ged Flynn, their chief executive officer, who is keen to meet with me and their chairman in the forthcoming weeks with a view to seeing what developments are possible in making further connections up in this area and joining strategically with some of the Choose Life initiatives.
Jackie has set up a JustGiving site for donations at http://www.justgiving.com/Jackie-Thomson with the aim of raising as much money as possible for the charity.
She said: “I plan to continue fund-raising and raising awareness of Papyrus and intend to undertake an overseas challenge next year. In time I believe we will have a Scotland-based office.”
Full details about Papyrus - Prevention of young suicide can be found on the charity’s website at www.papyrus-uk.org and the group also operates a confidential helpline for young people and their relatives on 0800 068 4141.