Interview: Ceinwen Giles, London Olympic Torchbearer

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Yesterday we told you where to see the Olympic torch in London. Today, we’re finding out about one of the London Torchbearers.

Ceinwen Giles, 37, will be carrying the Olympic torch in her home borough of Lewisham on 23 July, as part of the Olympic torch relay around the UK. She was chosen to be a torchbearer following her recovery from blood cancer.

How did you become a torchbearer?
I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma just after I had my daughter. It was really advanced so I had to stay in the hospital for five months after she was born, but it’s now been two years since I went into remission. I used to be a long-distance runner before I got sick and my husband nominated me as a torchbearer because he thought it would be a nice present for me to carry the torch.

How does it feel to be chosen to carry the torch?
A lot of the people who have been chosen have amazing stories, so to be in their company is a big honour. Being a runner, I’ve always been a big fan of the Olympics. I’m probably never going to make it to the Games, so this is the closest I’ll ever get!

What will happen on the day?
The torch is coming to Lewisham early in the morning, so I’ll get picked up in a bus with the other torchbearers. I’m running in Lewisham where I live – the route is really close to our flat so I have friends in the area which is great. The relay organisers haven’t said the exact distance I’ll be running but the average is something like 300m. They drop people on and off in a van and have a party in the evening. I’m looking forward to that and to meeting new people.

Have you done much preparation?
I’ve been watching the relay online and everyone else has been running their section so I want to run the whole thing. So I’ve been going for some runs and making sure I’m fit – carrying the torch is good motivation to get back into shape.

You’re a trustee of a cancer charity – will the relay help raise awareness?
You’re not allowed to wear a sign or a banner during the relay, but we might do some fundraising like asking people to donate if they get their picture taken with the torch. The charity is Shine Cancer Support – it supports adults in their 20s, 30s and 40s who have had cancer. There are a lot of cancer charities out there but most of them care for people who are much older or much younger, so it fills a big gap.

What will you do with your torch after the relay?
I won’t be selling it on eBay! I think I’m going to keep for my daughter. She’s two and a half now and I’d like her to have it as a souvenir of everything we’ve been through.