Sunday 12 June 2011

Why I'm doing the Race For Life

Me & my Mum

Today I'm very proud that my Mum and I are going to be taking part in the Race For Life, in fact as this post goes live we should be setting off on our 5k walk.  Yes, we're walking not running - one of the things about doing a very low calorie diet like I am, is that you can only do gentle exercise! - but at least we're taking part.  If you're not in the UK and have never heard of Race For Life it is a massive fund raising scheme organised by Cancer Research UK to raise money for their life saving research.  There are events all over the UK and literally thousands of women take part, mostly in memory or support of a loved one.  I think at the event we're attending today there will be about 2250 women taking part!

Betty Vaughan Stone nee Davies
My wonderful Nan

Back in 1973 my wonderful Nan was diagnosed with breast cancer, she was given a mastectomy and had radiotherapy.  She was told she had less than 5 years to live but my Nan was a determined woman and she wasn't going to take that diagnosis lying down.  Nan had 16 good years before the secondary bone cancer started to spread.  She suffered a great deal when side effects from the treatment and her bone cancer caused her spine to start crumbling, making it difficult for her to walk but still she refused to give in and continued to take her dogs to the park daily. I'm sure part of the reason she survived as long as she did was because of her positive attitude.  She fought long and hard and went on to live for another ten years before finally stomach and liver cancer took her from us.

This was a fabulous 26 years after her first diagnosis.  It was without doubt thanks to both my Nan's determination and the wonderful staff at Guys and St Thomas Hospitals who looked after her for so long.  In fact when she died back in 1999 she was Guy's Hospital's longest surviving patient on the then trial drug Tamoxifen. This breakthrough drug was brought about by research but cancer treatments have come even further since then and survival rates are increasing all the time.

If my Nan had died within 5 years of her diagnosis she would never have met any of her grandchildren but she went on to be able to spend time with all 7 of us and I'm so grateful that I had her in my life for 20 years.  Watching a loved one battle with a disease like cancer isn't something I would wish on anyone but it really makes you appreciate the time you have.  Watching my Nan fade away was the hardest thing I've ever done and I still miss her every day but I'm thankful for the time we had.

Cancer is a vicious disease and one we still have a lot to learn about it before we find a complete cure.  That's why the work done by Cancer Research UK is so important, they are the world's leading cancer charity and with their help we have seen cancer survival rates double within the last 40 years.  Considering that 300,000 people are diagnosed with cancer every year in the UK alone you can see why this is so important.  I'm pretty sure that you can all think of at least one person you know who has been effected by cancer at some point in their lives.  I hate to ask for sponsorship because I'm sure that everyone gives whatever they can to the charity of their choice already but if anyone would like to make a donation you can do so by clicking the button below.  Every penny you give can help make a massive difference and will be greatly appreciated.

Even if you can't afford a donation I hope you'll wish my Mum & I good luck for the race & I'll try to post an update later to let you know how we got on!


  1. Sarah, what a beautiful post. Your nan sounds like an extremely strong woman whose love for life and her family kept her going. I wish you and your mum all the luck in the world today.

  2. What a beautiful post Sarah. I adore your pictures. Such a good cause. <3

  3. This is really touching! Best of luck for today!

  4. Good for you! My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer a few years ago, and it was really devastating. I think this is really an awesome event for a good cause! :)

  5. I hope it went well! Your nan sounds like an amazing person.

  6. What a wonderful and personal post. Thank you so much for sharing this with us all. Your nan sounds like an incredible person.

  7. Sarah,
    This is such an inspiring post, I love it.
    I'm a prostate cancer survivor and jogger.
    Thanks for your participation and encouragement of others.

  8. Thank you all for your lovely comments!

    @ Vivienne - my Nan was incredibly brave, such an inspiration to me & my Mum :o)

    @ Emma - thanks so much hun, it took Mum & I ages to decide which pics to use lol

    @ Hannah - thanks hun

    @ Lily - I'm so sorry to hear about your Mum, I hope she is doing well now. Cancer is such a nasty disease but I think (& hope) they'll find a cure one day

    @Essjay - thanks hun, it went really well! My Nan was wonderful & I still miss her every day :o)

    @ Clover - thank you hun, she was an amazing woman

    @ Mike - thanks so much for sharing your story, I hope you are doing well now



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