Chesterfield woman to run marathon in memory of sister who took her own life

Sophie Holt, right, with her mother.
Sophie Holt, right, with her mother.

A Chesterfield woman is preparing to run the London Marathon in memory of her sister who took her own life.

Sophie Holt's sister, Gemma, sadly died in 2015 after suffering with mental health issues.

Sophie believes the stigma surrounding mental health contributed to Gemma, who was 23, not being able to get the help she needed.

The 21-year-old said: "Mental illness can affect anyone no matter their race, age, religion.

"I believe that if we spoke more freely about our mental health, without stigma, those who suffer would not feel as though they have to suffer alone and would seek the help they need."

Sophie has chosen to fundraise for MIND and is hoping to raise £2,500 to say thank you for the support the charity provided her and her family after Gemma's death.

Click here to sponsor Sophie.

Sophie said: "I often found myself on their website following my sister's death after not being able to sleep for days on end.

"I found their bereavement information very helpful.

"MIND is a charity that means a lot to me because they work every day to tackle the stigma around mental health.

"They offer crisis helplines to those who feel like they are in the darkest parts of their lives."

Training for the London Marathon has been a challenge for Sophie - but she is determined to get to the start line in Greenwich this April and is looking forward to seeing her mum cheer her on along the 26.2-mile course.

"Running in the cold and wet is a lot harder than I'd ever imagined but the fact that I'm running for a great cause and in memory of my sister is enough motivation to put my trainers on and keep going," she said.

"My mum will be supporting me on race day and I know it will mean a lot to her that I'm doing this in memory of Gemma."

The London Marathon will take place on Sunday, April 22.