Supporters to take on London Marathon challenge

Two of our supporters are going to be taking on the London Marathon next weekend in support of us.

Salisbury mum Jo Cullen, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2022, wanted to run the marathon on Sunday, April 21st, to “give back” to the Hospital’s Breast Unit for the care she received.

The 50-year-old, pictured above with Breast Unit staff, did a virtual London Marathon in 2020 so this will be her first time doing the event in London. She had been due to run it in 2022 but was forced to pull out after receiving her cancer diagnosis.

“Getting my cancer diagnosis was a big shock but I was very lucky to catch it early,” explains Jo, who had surgery to remove the lump followed by a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. “Nearly two years after my diagnosis, with all my treatment behind me, I am finally able to run the London Marathon after having to defer my entry twice due to surgery. I just want to finish and raise as much money as I can for the Breast Unit.”

The Stars Appeal Breast Unit, which opened in 2017, is Salisbury Hospital’s first-ever dedicated unit for breast patients providing dedicated diagnostic equipment along with treatment and counselling rooms in a beautifully furnished and dignified environment. It enables patients to have their diagnosis and follow-up care delivered in one place, reducing the need for patients to visit other departments in the hospital.

“We’re very lucky in Salisbury to have such a wonderful Breast Unit on the doorstep. The nurses and consultants were absolutely amazing from the moment I was diagnosed to all my operations. They are still at the end of the phone to answer any questions or concerns. It feels like you’re not alone, and they’ve got you under their wing.”

She also praised the lovely décor and furnishings in the unit, which she says make it feel “very special”.

“I’m so grateful for all the work the Stars Appeal do. It is vital to people like me to have places like the Breast Unit. I really felt strongly about raising money for the Stars Appeal and to give back to a charity that has helped me and hundreds of other people,” adds Jo.

Sophie Bagshaw, from Ludgershall, who is a second year Adult Nursing student at Bournemouth University doing a placement at Salisbury Hospital, is going to be taking on her first London Marathon to support us.

The 20-year-old says: “While doing my placement at the hospital it was a surprise to me how much was funded by the Stars Appeal and I wanted to contribute. Salisbury is also my local hospital that I’ve used for years so I wanted to give back.”

Sophie recently got into running and does cross country for Southampton University Officer Training Corps, adding: “I’ve never been a long distance runner, I used to be a sprinter when I was younger and I’ve only recently got into running, so this is going to be an extremely big challenge for me.”

To sponsor Jo visit To support Sophie go to

If you would like to find out more about the projects we are fundraising for click here.

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