In October 2017, Helen Iveson will be running her first full marathon in memory of her friend, Karen Woo, to raise funds for the Foundation that was set up after Karen was killed in Afghanistan in 2010.
Helen and Karen met when they were both at medical school. Helen remembers Karen as being someone who would light up a room. She had come to medicine a little later than the other students and had friends “from all over".
Not long after Karen finished her medical training, she headed out to Afghanistan to deliver medical care in rural areas of the country. Karen’s last mission was to the remote province of Nuristan where, over eight days, she and her team were able to help over 1500 people, some of whom had walked three to four days to get treatment. Tragically, all but one of the medical team were killed as they headed back from the mission. Karen had been due to get married on her return from Afghanistan.
The Karen Woo Foundation was set up by Karen’s family and friends to carry forward her work in Afghanistan. A major focus is providing healthcare to Afghan women and children. Helen is especially keen to point out that the Foundation helps people in down-to-earth, practical ways, like training local workers to assist pregnant women in remote areas without easy access to medical centres.
Helen has taken part in several runs in aid of the Foundation over the years, most recently the New Forest Heartbreaker Half Marathon in February, which she describes as “really hard, but very friendly!” Training has to be fitted in between her family commitments and her job as a consultant at Salisbury District Hospital, so she runs to and from work, and is also a regular at the Churchill Gardens parkrun with her husband and their four-year-old son Leo. She’s found a lot of support for her training on the internet, particularly the Run Mummy Run Facebook group, and Rob Deering and Paul Tonkinson’s running podcasts.
Helen says she really appreciates how the Clarendon marathon caters for runners at all levels, and she knows that when the going gets tough, her memories of Karen and her knowledge of the life-saving work of the Foundation will carry her through.
You can find Helen’s JustGiving page here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Helen-Iveson
More details about the Karen Woo Foundation are here: http://www.karenwoofoundation.org/