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Queen Mary students complete Ultraman to raise money for breast cancer research

Ten students from the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry challenged themselves to complete an Ultraman triathalon on Saturday 16 October to raise money for the charity Breast Cancer Now in memory of Hayley Henniker, mother of Leah, one of the participants.

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The Ultraman is an endurance challenge normally completed by one person over three days involving 320 miles of swimming, cycling and running.

Team members Leah Henniker, Lucy Maguire, James Mckeown, Louis Hughes, Joss Lobo, James Briton, Luke Holt, Alice Larsen, Joanna Croft, and Emily Clark, who have all been friends from their first year, decided to come together to complete the Ultraman in memory of Hayley Henniker who passed away last year from metastatic breast cancer after a long journey with the disease.

After Hayley passed away, the family researched the condition and discovered how common breast cancer metastasises to the brain. Despite this, brain scans are not a routine part of breast cancer investigation and management, which may have detected the metastasis sooner. As well as raising money for Breast Cancer Now, the team wanted to raise awareness of how breast cancer metastasises to the brain, which may give other families an opportunity to have longer with their loved ones, and potentially, influence policy.

Alice Larsen, third year Medical student and Ultraman participant, tells us what the day involved:

"An Ultraman is usually a race completed by one individual over three days, covering 320 miles of swimming, cycling and running. Instead, we challenged ourselves to split up this distance, completing a triathlon in one day. We did our swim at London Aquatics Centre in Stratford, we cycled at Qmotion in the spin studio and ran around Victoria Park to end in Stepney Spoons. The day was so much fun!

"We got to Stratford bright and early at 9am and completed the swim separately due to our different levels of abilities. Everyone did so well, considering people haven’t swam in over a decade. The cycle in the spin studio was hard work but the lights and speakers in Qmotion made it so much fun. A massive shoutout to Qmotion for that.

"Finally we completed the run together, keeping the pace nice and easy we really got a boost when Leah’s dad and brother surprised us at Victoria Park to cheer us on. It was an amazing day and we’re so proud of ourselves and the cause we did it to support."

Congratulations to the team for raising £2,450 for Breast Cancer Now. If you’d like to contribute, you can still add to their JustGiving page.