Royston Runner’s Challenge in Sister’s Memory

In 1995, Jess Petty’s sister, Janis, lost her battle with cancer at just three-years-old. 

Now, Jess is taking on the challenge of running the iconic Virgin London Marathon in memory of Janis and to raise funds for us because we cared for her sister. 

For Jess (29), it will be the first time she has taken on a marathon and says she cherishes the opportunity to run in her sister’s memory.

“Janis sadly passed away when she was only three after a battle with cancer,” said Jess. “I was only five-years-old at the time, and even though over 20 years has passed, I still remember our trips to Rainbows.

“As well as ensuring Janis was looked after and having fun, they also ensured I was included and my parents had a chance to rest. Even after Janis passed away, I recall the constant support Rainbows offered to my parents and me for years after. 

“In the past few years I’ve thought about running a marathon, and now I have the chance, I cannot think of a better charity to raise money for and to run for in my sister’s memory.”

Jess will run alongside her partner, Lewis, who has secured a charity place for St John Ambulance. “We won’t be running at the same pace, but it’s great we’ll both be able to experience this event in 2019 and raise money for two great charities along the way.” 

Jess added. “We’ve taken part in a handful of other 10kms and also a few half marathons. This is the first time we have signed up for something longer than 13.1 miles though, so definitely a new challenge.”
The couple have been out training since the start of the year, braving the bitter cold and freezing temperatures. Jess hopes to complete the marathon in around five hours and aims to raise £800.

“The impact Rainbows made in mine and my family’s life is still very strong,” Jess added. “I cherish this opportunity to run in my sister’s memory and hope to raise as much money as I can for Rainbows, so they can continue this amazing work for any family who needs it.” 

Nancy Lillington, Rainbows’ Events Manager, added: “We are delighted that Jess is taking on the marathon for us. It is an incredible challenge for her and she is a fantastic support for Rainbows. Without fundraisers like Jess, we would only be able to open our doors for around three weeks a year. Jess has experienced first-hand the care that we provide to so many families at the most tragic times and it is wonderful that she wants to support other families.”

To sponsor Jess, visit