Keats Library volunteer set for London Marathon for cancer charity

Jana Harrison at Keats Library. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

Jana Harrison at Keats Library. Picture: Nigel Sutton. - Credit: Nigel Sutton

A librarian is putting down her books to run the London Marathon for charity after losing relatives to cancer.

Jana Harrison, 45, from Old Brewery Mews, Hampstead, will run the 26-mile route through the capital tomorrow for World Cancer Research Fund, after she lost two stepfathers to the disease.

The Keats Community Library volunteer has been running regularly on Hampstead Heath in preparation for her first marathon in aid of the cancer prevention charity.

“My stepfather passed away from oesophageal cancer,” said Ms Harrison. “Seeing the pain and sadness that he and my mother went through was pretty horrific.

“When my mother remarried, her husband later died from bladder cancer. My cousin also died of cancer after a 10-year fight with it.

“It was an awful time for our family, and when I got a marathon place I was determined to run for a cause that helps to stop this disease.

“It really opened my eyes to how we all need to do as much as possible to prevent cancer and as being active and healthy helps reduce your cancer risk, I thought a marathon was particularly fitting.”

Most Read

The mother-of-three said local library users have spotted her training and her children’s encouragement is pushing her to complete the gruelling distance this weekend.

“I am a little bit nervous about running that length, but I’m determined to finish it,” she said. “I’ve had library customers congratulate me for entering, and my daughters keep on pushing me to train, so I have to finish.”

Paul Fretwell, head of fundraising at World Cancer Research Fund, said: “We’re so grateful that Jana is raising vital funds for us with this incredible challenge.

“Jana’s support helps us to reduce the number of people who are affected by cancer, and prevent the misery that this disease causes. We’ll be cheering her on every step of the way.”

Scientists say about a third of common cancers could be prevented if people were to maintain a healthy body weight, eat a healthy diet and be physically active.

To support Jana, visit For more information on cancer prevention or to sign up for one of World Cancer Research Fund’s fundraising events, visit or call 020 7343 4200.