Heartfelt tributes are pouring in to remember a courageous mother who battled terminal cancer.
Lisa Langford, 37, of Kensworth, died on February 16, after fighting the disease for over a year.
The mother-of-two was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2015, undergoing chemotherapy, surgery, and radiotherapy with a smile on her face and “always thinking of others”.
In December, Lisa found out that the cancer was terminal and had spread to her liver and lungs, but determined to make memories with her husband, Adam, and two boys, Jake and Luke, she set about crowdfunding for a trip to EuroDisney in February half term. However, Lisa was too poorly to go, and passed away days after her young family returned.
Lee Harper, 49, who met Lisa at a Dunstable Road Runners Beginners Course in June 2013, said: “When we learnt of her illness, I knew Lisa was a strong character and had the fight in her to try and beat cancer.
“I saw her after she came through the first bout and you would not have thought that she had gone through what she had - it was business as usual, joking, positive and looking forward to getting back to running.
“Lisa will leave a long lasting impression on everyone around her and memories of her will go on.”
Lisa was first diagnosed with cancer after she visited her GP because she had found a lump “about the size of a plum stone” in her breast.
Just four days later she went to her local hospital for a mammogram, consultancy, and biopsy, getting an initial diagnosis, confirmed on December 18 after further x-rays and a blood test.
In true fighting spirit, Lisa went on to face rounds of chemotherapy (lasting until April/May 2016), followed by surgery in June with a mastectomy on her left hand side with immediate reconstruction, and getting to know her silicon/saline combo boob, whom Lisa affectionately named ‘Cilla’.
Finally, the determined mum underwent three weeks’ worth of radiotherapy which was completed by the end of summer, and Lisa hoped she had beaten the disease until she found out at Christmas that the cancer had spread.
One charity very close to Lisa’s heart was Willow, based in Herts, who specialise in days out for seriously ill young adults and Lisa went with her family in the summer of 2016 to see The Lion King.
Lisa kept a special blog called ‘One step at a time’ to document her experiences of the illness, and she was thankful for the charity’s kindness.
Lisa was a keen sportswoman, part of the Luton Wardown Park runners, and the team held a Purple Parkrun in her honour the weekend after she passed away.
A ‘#RunforLisa’ slogan was created by running networks, and Lisa has recruited lots of her friends and family to take on challenges this year for her charity.
Adam, Jake and Luke, have signed up to the Willow 10k at Hatfield House on October 1 (Adam’s birthday), with Luke and Jake running the 1k junior race.
Last year the family raised £228 for the charity.
Carol Young, Willow Challenge Events Manager, said: “We are proud to have arranged Lisa’s Special Day and honored that she chose to support Willow afterwards in so many ways. She was a very generous, selfless lady and it is testament to her and her family that so many of her friends are taking on challenges in aid of Willow this year.”
Kate Neale, event director at Luton Wardown Parkrun, said: “My favourite memories of Lisa are her many fancy dress costumes, Lisa’s joy of running, her rainbow cakes, running her 50th parkrun with her son Jake and my son, Ash, even though she was ill, and her smile - always her smile.”
Lisa’s friend, Zena Ellis, 35, of Luton, added: “Lisa was very positive, bubbly, energetic and enthusiastic. I will be running the London Marathon for the Willow Foundation and for Lisa. She made a big mark on the community at Luton Wardown parkrun and her legacy will not be forgotten.”
For more information, visit: www.willowfoundation.org.uk or call: 01707 259777. Lisa’s blog: http://runnerlangford.blogspot.co.uk/?m=1