Cancer survivor urges women to sign up for Race for Life

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MOIRA woman Suzanne McTurk is urging local women to sign up for the Race for Life.

The 38-year-old cancer survivor was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008.

At the end of a year-long cycle of treatment, rather than put her feet up Suzanne felt the need to get back into her fitness and returned to the gym

She said: “As soon as the radiotherapy was finished I started back into my training. It had always been an important part of my life to be fit and keep weight off.

“I was really happy with the treatment that I received from all the doctors and staff at the Ulster Clinic. I was feeling on a real high after my treatment finished and that’s why I wanted to do some charity work to raise money and raise awareness.”

Suzanne was diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2008 at the age of 34.

She went to see her doctor after discovering a lump on her breast and the cancer treatment began immediately as it was already at a fairly progressed stage

She underwent a lumpecotomy, mastectomy as well as both chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

The treatment in the Ulster Clinic lasted about a year during which time Suzanne took time off her work as a medical representative with Pfizer.

Suzanne has also had six operations in the last three years to have her breast reconstructed.

The 38-year-old lives on the Backwood Road in Moira with her husband Stephen.

She is originally from Letterkenny and Stephen is from Markethill. They moved to Moira nine years ago.

Suzanne and her husband, hoping to have a family, had been going through fertility treatment, but because of the breast cancer Suzanne couldn’t have further fertility treatment. The couple are now hoping to adopt and have put in an application five months ago.

Suzanne has done the Race for Life in two out of the last three years. Last time out she raised £1,000.

She said: “I signed up really because I had started to regain my fitness after my treatment. I really focused on using my story to raise money.

“It’s a fun and feel good event. You don’t need to be fit to do it. The last time I did it I trained a lot in the lead up, but I brought along a friend of mine who didn’t run at all and she was able to do it without much bother.”

She added: “Numbers are down this year, so please enter Race for Life today.

“The battle against cancer never stops, so we need you to sign up now and start raising money for ground-breaking research to help save more lives.”

Signing up for Race for Life is the ideal way for women of all ages, shapes and sizes to motivate themselves to become more active as they get ready to walk, jog or run the 5K route at this year’s event, which takes place at Stormont on Sunday, May 27 from 1am and 3pm.

The atmosphere at Race for Life is electric, with women from all walks of life coming together to make a positive difference to everyone affected by cancer. All women are invited and they can choose whether to walk, jog or run.

Race for Life, in partnership with Tesco, is a women-only series of 5K events. It raises millions of pounds every year for life-saving research into 200 types of cancer – helping men, women and children across Northern Ireland to survive.

Cancer Research UK spokesperson Jean Walsh said: “Most women can walk 5K in an hour while chatting and having fun. And in that same period of time, one person in Northern Ireland will be diagnosed with cancer.

“If you think of it in those terms, taking part in Race for Life is a remarkable opportunity to change the lives and future of people with the disease.

“Walking is a great form of exercise and it’s really easy to fit some extra steps into your day, especially now spring is here.

“To get started, why not get off the bus a couple of stops earlier or take the stairs at work instead of the lift.

“Becoming more active has benefits that continue well after the event, as research shows that even regular, moderate physical activity can help reduce the risk of cancer.

“Keeping active could help to prevent more than 3,000 cases of cancer in the UK every year.”

Jean added: “We are very grateful to everyone who took part in Race for Life last year and in the past. Thanks to them Cancer Research UK has been able to spend over £2 million a year on much-needed research at Belfast City Hospital.

“But the battle against cancer never stops and for this reason we need them to return to the fight in 2012 and bring new recruits with them.”

Cancer Research UK receives no Government funding. Money raised through Race for Life is crucial to the pioneering work of doctors, nurses and scientists who are fighting cancer on all fronts.

To enter Race for Life visit www.raceforlife.org or call 0871 641 1111.