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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 September 2007, 09:06 GMT 10:06 UK
Obituary: Jane Tomlinson
Jane Tomlinson after riding from John O'Groats to Land's End
Jane Tomlinson after riding from John O'Groats to Land's End
Though terminally-ill with cancer, Jane Tomlinson raised more than 1.5 million for charity by running in three London Marathons, several triathlons and The Great North Run.

Together with her brother she also cycled from John O'Groats to Land's End and from Rome to Leeds.

Jane Tomlinson's life changed forever when, in 1991, she was first diagnosed as having breast cancer.

Though she underwent a mastectomy, the cancer returned and in 2000 she was told that it was terminal.

Even though her cancer was incurable, Jane Tomlinson refused to give in, preferring instead to undertake a series of challenges which would normally tax even the most physically fit person.

Gruelling bike ride

2002 saw the mother of three, from Rothwell near Leeds, complete three major sporting events.

Even though she was in great pain - especially in her bones, neck, hips, back and shoulders - she took part in the London Marathon in April, a triathlon in August and, along with her husband, the Great North Run in October.

After the Great North Run, Jane Tomlinson announced that she would not be running any more races.

Jane after receiving the Helen Rollason Award in 2002
Jane won the Helen Rollason Award in 2002

She said that she would be concentrating on her medical treatment, and spending time with her husband Mike and children Suzanne, Rebecca and Steven.

But, in March 2003, she set out, together with her brother Luke, on a 1060 mile bike ride from John O'Groats to Land's End, stopping twice en route to receive chemotherapy.

Arriving at the finish, Jane Tomlinson could not contain her delight.

She said: "It has been brilliant.

"I am absolutely thrilled. I can't believe we are actually here. There have been some tricky moments on the way but we have just enjoyed it all."

Her own laboratory

And, almost unbelievably, days after finishing the journey, she completed a second London Marathon before returning to work as a paediatric radiographer.

But more was to come. She completed the gruelling UK Half Ironman triathlon competition in the autumn before collecting her MBE from the Queen at Buckingham Palace in October.

All in all, she raised more than 1.5 million for Cancer Research UK and other charities.

In recognition of her efforts, the laboratory at Cancer Research UK's Clinical Centre at St James's Hospital in Leeds, was re-named the Jane Tomlinson Laboratory in May 2003.

Speaking at the time, Jane Tomlinson said, "I know that my situation means that there is little to benefit me from research, but I thought if I could raise some money, I could help other people in the future.

"It's great to know that all this research is taking place in my home city and I am especially pleased to be associated with this particular lab."

Mrs Tomlinson also won a number of high profile awards, including The Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year and BBC Sports Personality of the Year's Helen Rollason Award.

Jane Tomlinson arriving in New York City in September 2006
American journey: Jane reached New York City on 1 September 2006

She was also voted the UK's most inspirational woman in 2003.

In November 2004, she became the only cancer patient to complete a full Ironman triathlon, a daunting feat comprising a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile cycle ride followed by a 26 mile marathon.

And in the summer of 2006, she crossed the United States, from San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge to Brooklyn Bridge in New York City.

On finishing the ride, she admitted, "I thought it was going to be a bit of an adventure but it turned out to be a bit of an ordeal."

But, despite her smiles at the end of her journey, the mammoth feat - 63 days on a bike, covering 3,700 miles - had left her seriously ill.

Jane's courage and achievements were and will continue to be an inspiration to us all
Denise, Cheltenham

She was also disappointed that a lack of interest from the US media meant she only raised 100,000, well short of her expectations.

Early in 2007 it was announced that Jane was now too ill to undertake any further challenges but she did organise and wave off a 10km road race in Leeds.

She was awarded the CBE in the Queen's Birthday honours in June 2007.

Jane Tomlinson always looked upon herself as just an ordinary woman with cancer but her extraordinary tenacity touched the lives of people around the world.

A look back at Jane Tomlinson's achievements

Jane Tomlinson wins 2002 Helen Rollason award


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