Jarrow mum to take part in Helping Hearts run in memory of brother

Iona Marshall, children Skye and Cameron, and husband Nathan
Iona Marshall, children Skye and Cameron, and husband Nathan

A Jarrow mum is hitting the road in memory of her brother who died of heart disease.

Iona Marshall decided to change her lifestyle and inspire her children to do the same after the death of brother Tommy Mackie a week before his 50th birthday.

Iona, 39, is taking part in the SUBWAY Helping Hearts Family 5km run in Newcastle on Sunday with her two youngest children to help raise money for national charity Heart Research UK.

Heart disease runs in Iona’s family as her father Thomas McEwan suffered from angina from the age of 18 and had seven heart attacks due to a poor diet and lifestyle that included smoking. He died in 2002 from cancer aged 76.

Tommy was also unaware that he had heart problems until he suffered a stroke in 2008 and it was also discovered he had blocked arteries. Unfortunately he died a year later a week before his 50th birthday from heart failure.

“I was utterly devastated by my brother’s passing and vowed right then that I would change my lifestyle, and my family’s lifestyle, as I needed to break the pattern for my own children’s sake,” she said.

“I try to inspire my children to live a full and active life that they can be proud of, and I know my dad and brother would be very proud too.”

Iona is a full time mother as well as carer for husband Nathan, who suffers from epilepsy, but he will be joining his wife in the 5K event along with children Cameron, nine, and Skye, six.

“We try to encourage the whole family to be as active as possible in their own way – including Cameron and Skye coming running with me - and I thought the 5K would be a fun thing to do,” Iona said.

This is the second year the SUBWAY Helping Hearts Family 5km has taken place in Newcastle and is the tenth of 12 events in the 2015 series taking place across the UK.

Places are still available in Sunday’s event.

Children under 12 go FREE and it’s £6.99 per person for the rest of the family when they register online. Go to 5ksubway.com for race information and to register.