A Tyrone man who lost his wife to a brain tumour last year has run one marathon a week for the foundation he set up in her name, since January.
And off the back of the year-long challenge, which he is now over half way through, Philip is to bring county Tyrone its first ever timed official marathon with Carrickmore Rainbow Gateway Club.
Philip Anderson’s wife Mary died suddenly last November when she suffered a seizure as a result of tumours in her brain - just nine days after he also lost his mother.
While both women were ill, Philip said his mother’s passing was expected, whereas Mary’s death came as a complete shock.
But instead of remembering Mary when she was sick, the inspirational widower said he wanted to honour her life and give their 10-year-old son Peter good memories to associate with his mother.
And so the Mary Anderson Foundation was born “to keep Mary’s legacy alive”.
Mary’s attitude to life was ‘ok, they’ve made me go deaf but I can still see, so whatever you want to tell me, just write it down - Philip Anderson on his wife Mary
The brave Ardboe woman had been fighting brain tumours since 2002, but two years ago started suffering seizures too.
However, Philip, who draws inspiration from his wife’s strength on his weekly marathons, said she never complained.
“Every day Mary just battled on and the tumours were never spoken about,” he explained.
“In this past four or five years they started to have more of an impact on Mary’s life [and] caused her to go deaf.
“But Mary’s attitude to life was ‘ok, they’ve made me go deaf but I can still see, so whatever you want to tell me, just write it down’,” he added.
“The first seizure she had, she was told she wouldn’t make it through that night. But Mary being Mary, she was up again the next day. She always confounded the doctors.”
As well as her determination to make the best of life whilst ill, Philip said Mary was also very giving - another reason he wanted to set up a charity in her name.
“While she was ill herself she was out doing a lot of wee things, helping people out,” Philip said. “Things that I didn’t even know she was doing.
“When she died people came to me and said ‘Mary done this for me and Mary done that for me’.”
Tyrone’s first official marathon, the Mary Anderson Colours Marathon, is on September 13 with all proceeds going to the foundation’s four charities; Carrickmore Rainbow Gateway Club, Southern Area Hospice, Foyle Hospice and Termonmaguirk cancer Care.
See maryandersoncolourmarathon.com to register or www.facebook.com/maryandersonfoundation for more information on the foundation.