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Cancer survivor is inspiring people to Race for Life at Home

Cancer survivor is inspiring people to Race for Life at Home

by Danielle Thompson (April 2020)

A MAGHULL cancer survivor is inspiring people to Race for Life at Home and carry on the fight against the disease in these unprecedented times.

Race for Life events in Merseyside are among those which organisers Cancer Research UK have postponed this spring and summer during the coronavirus outbreak. But as the nation continues on lockdown, undeterred women and men are already vowing to carry on and complete a Race for Life at Home challenge at home, in their garden or their nearest green space.

Justine, 49,had always loved holidays and would regularly sit out in the sun all day without protection. She was also a regular sunbed user by the age of 15.

In 2004 after taking up running she noticed a freckle on her chest which had turned into a lump. Putting it down to rubbing from her sports bra, she ignored it. In 2006, the freckle started to change, going gooey and then turned black. Eventually Justine got it checked by her GP and was immediately referred to a specialist. Justine was diagnosed with malignant melanoma.

Surgery was scheduled, but it was more serious than initially thought as the cancer had attached itself to muscle. Another lesion was found on her back which also turned out to be cancerous.

The following year Justine found a suspicious lump on her head which was also diagnosed as cancer. This meant a major operation, using muscle graft from her stomach to fill the gap.

She is now cancer free, but still carries the scars from the disease.

Justine, who lives with beloved mum Monica, remains a passionate runner and has taken part in Race for Life many times.

She said: “It was a terrible shock when I was diagnosed with cancer and I felt like I was going through a living nightmare. I knew I had no choice but to fight it and I really think that the experience has made me a stronger person.

“We’re all going to be spending a lot of time indoors this spring, so it feels good to take back some control and plan something positive to help me and to help people who are going through cancer right now.”

Many of the scientists and researchers funded by Cancer Research UK are currently being redeployed to help in the fight against the coronavirus, including assisting with testing. By helping to beat coronavirus, the charity can lessen the impact it is having on the care of cancer patients.

Jane Bullock, Cancer Research UK’s spokesperson for the North West, said: “At a time when it feels like everything is at a standstill, there is one thing that hasn’t stopped, cancer.

“Our priority as a charity is ensuring that people affected by cancer are getting the support they need right now. But we are already getting people asking about doing Race for Life at Home because they don’t want to see the charity lose out on vital funding.

“It’s truly humbling to see the response. So, from their homes, we’d love for supporters to join us and Race for Life at Home in these challenging times. From a run or 5K walk around the garden to limbo in the living room, there is no wrong way to Race for Life at Home.

“With no entry fee, people might choose to twerk, limbo, star jump, squat, skip, dance, or come up with their own novel way of taking part and share it with friends. The message is very much that ‘while we might be apart, we’re doing this together.’

“There is no wrong way to get involved and join our community.”

People can visit raceforlife.org and sign up free for ideas on how they can create their own Race for Life at Home challenge or call 0300 123 0770.

New dates for Race for Life have been set:

- Race for Life Pretty Muddy 5k and Pretty Muddy Kids events will now take place at Sefton Park on Saturday, September 26.

- Race for Life 5k and 10k events will be held at Sefton Park on Sunday, September 27.

- Race for Life 5k and 10k at Aintree Racecourse will now take place on Sunday, October 4.

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