Two women living with incurable cancer hope to inspire people to keep up the fight against the disease during the coronavirus pandemic by taking part in Race for Life at home.
Nicky Newman, from Guildford and Laura Middleton-Hughes, from Norwich, are both 32 and both have stage four cancer which has spread around their bodies.
After being told the news that their cancer was incurable, the women set up an upbeat, online community called Secondary Sisters, to support anyone going through a similar journey.
Now the pair are encouraging people to take on Cancer Research UK’s coronavirus lockdown alternative, Race for Life ‘at Home’ challenge.
For Ms Newman, this is to move in some form every day.
She said: “I recently found out I have a partial collapse in my spine, due to the cancer having a nibble, so high impact exercise is a no-go for me.
“But that doesn’t mean I can’t still get active.
“But I am aiming to ‘move’ every day, whether that’s half an hour on the cross trainer or a gentle yoga practice.”
Ms Newman was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018. She and husband Alex had been trying for a baby for a year and were half way through IVF treatment when she found a lump, which was cancerous.
She needed very heavy medication to control the pain and temporarily lost the ability to walk, needing three months off from her job at a finance brokerage as she concentrated on regaining strength, physically and mentally.
She met Ms Middleton-Hughes through the cancer community and they hit it off immediately.
Ms Middleton-Hughes was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014 after finding a lump in her left breast while on a holiday to Australia.
It’s only through continued research and treatment that many people like me can still enjoy a full and active lifeLaura Middleton-Hughes
She underwent a mastectomy and chemotherapy, recovered well and returned to an active life.
But in April 2016, she began to feel pain in her right shoulder. A scan revealed not only a fracture but a tumour that had overtaken the head of the humerus.
She underwent a shoulder replacement, which caused her agonising pain, and then started chemotherapy. She had to give up her job as a hairdresser.
“I will now remain on drugs for the rest of my life in order to control the spread of the disease,” said Ms Middleton-Hughes. “I will never be free of cancer now, but I know that the drugs keeping it under control are only here because of research.
“It’s only through continued research and treatment that many people like me can still enjoy a full and active life.”
Race for Life events have been postponed in large numbers around the UK, to help protect the country’s health during the coronavirus outbreak.
Race for Life at Home means people can do their own event whenever and wherever it suits them – within the constraints of Government guidance on coronavirus.
People can visit raceforlife.org and sign up free for ideas on how they can create their own Race for Life at Home challenge.