Oswego resident Janet Kean has always been involved in volunteering and charitable organizations.
She and her mother very strongly supported Save The Children, a world-wide organization that works to give children the right to protection, survival, development and participation and support them for their future.
Kean’s mother, Eleanor Rotheram, passed away in July 2010 from a rare cancer that Kean said no one saw coming.
“I woke up crying one night to my husband that I had no purpose right now,” Kean remembered. “I needed some way to turn this horrible negative into a positive.”
Kean has suffered from medical problems, including a bad back that she still has treatments on, but wanted to find a new focus to channel her attention on. Since moving from England to the United States six and half years ago, Kean said she’d lost over 100lbs and it encouraged her to be more active.
Kean had always aspired to do a marathon, since her parents took her to watch the London Marathon when she was little.
“When I first started could run a little bit, then I’d walk, walk a little bit more, and then I just built it up over time,” said Kean.
Kean wanted to have a purpose to her running, and decided to run marathons to raise money for Save the Children as well as “honor my mum. She was always so passionate about Save the Children and they can really use every little bit.”
Starting with an 8km race, Kean raised nearly $1,000 for Save the Children. “I started to get a bit ambitious,” she said, and registered for a half-marathon that she completed last September. She finished with a time of 2:02:03, which she thought for herself was “pretty damn good.”
Kean’s new goal then was to run three full marathons within 11 months of one another and raise £2,000, or roughly $3,200 for Save the Children.
She completed the Rockford Marathon last May and is gearing up for the Chicago Marathon this October. Then she’s off to London in April to run the London Marathon, the same one that inspired her all those years ago.
Kean has already reached her goal, and said anything else is a bonus. “I’m just pleased to carry on.”
Kean’s charitable efforts brought her face to face with HRH Princess Anne, daughter of the Queen of England, who is the royal patron to Save the Children.
“She was surprisingly down to earth,” said Kean, who flew out to the U.K. to meet her about two weeks ago. “She was just a really nice lady and easy to talk to.”
For now it’s back to “busting butt” to prepare for the Chicago Marathon.
“I could be doing anything right now,” she said, having just come back from a 10 mile run. “But I chose to do this.
“I was very lucky as a child, but not every child is. There is need everywhere. We forget that sometimes. So I’m here trying to remember and help.”
To donate to Kean’s efforts, visit her Just Giving page.