A former NHS worker who gave up her job to support animal shelters around the world is running the virtual London Marathon on a cruise ship.

Soraya Wasenius, 51, of Roydon, is taking on the October 3 challenge in aid of the NoToDogMeat charity. 

The former medical typist, who worked at the Princes Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, gave up her job five years ago to dedicate her time to travel and animal activism. 

The 51-year-old has now been on 60 cruises and makes sure to visit shelters and sanctuaries wherever she goes, offering help and support to animals in need. 
Ms Wasenius, who rescued her own cat Fluffy ten years ago when he came to her as a stray, will get up early on the day of the marathon, and complete laps of Royal Caribbean's Celebrity Silhouette liner, which will be sailing towards Portugal. 

The London Marathon has become a virtual event for the last two years due to the pandemic, meaning that people can register and run on the day wherever they are in the world. 

Epping Forest Guardian: Soraya's cat FluffySoraya's cat Fluffy

Ms Wasenius said: "This is my first marathon, and in a way, I am sad that I'm not able to do it in London, as I am a London girl and would have really loved the atmosphere. 

"I've been training by running about nine miles a day near my house which is quite rural. I was a member of a running group once, but nowadays I actually prefer to run on my own, it's my thinking time, and I really love it."  

All the proceeds she raises will go towards NoToDogMeat, a charity which works in countries where there is a dog and cat meat trade. 

Ms Wasenius added: "I have supported lots of animal charities over the years but this is the most important to me.” 

Epping Forest Guardian: Soraya WasenieusSoraya Wasenieus
Julia de Cadenet, who founded the NoToDogMeat charity in 2009, said: "Thank you so much Soraya for choosing NoToDogMeat as the charity that will benefit from her marathon sponsorship, we are so proud of her. 
To find out more and donate to NoToDogMeat go to www.notodogmeat.com 
To donate to Soraya and team NoToDogMeat's marathon efforts go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/notodogmeat1