A 27-year-old cancer survivor from north Suffolk has signed up for the BUPA Great North Run less than a year after finishing treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma.
Laura Ashworth, of Fressingfield, with be taking part in the half marathon on September 15, to prove to herself she can still be fit, despite the chemotherapy affecting her lungs.
Miss Ashworth was diagnosed with advanced Hodgkin lymphoma, a type of blood cancer, in February 2012 after finding a lump in her neck.
She said: “At first my GP thought it was harmless. It was only when a second lump appeared within a day that I returned and I was sent for a full scan and biopsy. I had 17 different lymphoma tumours in my body, including one the size of a grapefruit in my chest.”
Miss Ashworth started chemotherapy at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital, and despite losing all of her hair and suffering from exhaustion, carried on working.
She is now in remission, and as a runner before her diagnosis, decided to complete the 13.1-mile run in Newcastle in aid of Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research - a charity which she feels is not as widely known about as other cancer charities.
She added: “Being diagnosed at the age of 25 was such a knock back - you think you are invincible. The treatment has affected my lungs and I get out of breath much quicker. I want to prove to myself I can still be fit.
“I don’t want to be known as the girl who had cancer for the rest of my life.
“It is going to be very difficult but I am so determined to do it.”
Dan Solley, head of sports events at the charity, said: “We are constantly inspired by the stories of those taking part in events for the charity and the dedication of our supporters like Laura. Every penny raised will help us in our mission to beat blood cancer - stopping people from dying and making patients’ lives better.”
Miss Ashworth will be running with a friend and hopes to raise £500 for the charity. To sponsor her visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/LauraAshworth