A determined Bramham woman is flying the flag in the battle against cancer and rallying women across Yorkshire to sign up to Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life.
Bowel cancer survivor Amy Lewis, 31, is leading the charge by signing up to Race for Life and she’s calling on mums, daughters, sisters and friends to follow in her footsteps.
Amy said: “I’m flying the flag in the fight against cancer as I’m determined to show this devastating disease who’s boss.
“By taking part in Race for Life, we can raise money for life-saving research and help more people like me survive.”
Now she is urging women to show their fighting spirit and sign up as soon as possible at www.raceforlife.org
Amy has been supporting Race for Life every year since 2006 after her grandmother was diagnosed with bowel cancer. Sadly her grandmother died in 2011.
But in 2012, aged just 28, Amy was herself diagnosed with bowel cancer.
She said: “I did my first Race for Life in Doncaster in 2006 in support of my grandmother after she was found to have bowel cancer. I took part with my sister, Lizzy (28), and mum Lucy.
“But sadly it was in my grandmother’s memory when I took part in the 2011 Leeds Race for Life after she passed away.”
Then towards the end of 2011 Amy started to notice her visits to the toilet started to become increasingly painful and her bowel habits also began to change.
She said: “It was getting really uncomfortable when I when to the toilet. It got to the point where I was surviving on painkillers and I also started noticing blood on occasion.”
Amy was referred by her GP for hospital tests, but her appointment to be assessed kept being cancelled.
“My boyfriend, now my husband, said I needed to get checked out, so in April 2012 I went to A&E at St James’s University Hospital in Leeds.
“They did some blood tests and immediately decided to keep me in because the readings were abnormal.
“I had a sigmoidoscopy, which examines the lower bowel, but that came back negative, so they continued to keep me in hospital and then did a full colonoscopy which revealed a tumour in my rectum.
“Not in a million years had I suspected bowel cancer. It all happened really, really quickly and was very surreal, especially after what had happened to my grandmother.
“Sometimes I felt like it wasn’t really happening to me and I just got on with things, but at other times I was in almost total despair. It was the biggest shock I have had in my life.”
Amy started three months of chemotherapy to shrink the tumour and then had a course of radiotherapy which she completed in October 2012, followed two months later by extensive surgery.
“They removed the tumour as well as 69 lymph nodes, two of which were found to be cancerous. I then had another three months of chemotherapy which finished in May 2013.”
Just a few weeks after her chemo ended she took part in the Liverpool Race for Life with one of her university friends who lived there.
“That was a bit more poignant because I had just come through treatment for cancer,” she said.
Now Amy continues to have scans every six months and everything seems to be fine.
The Finance Manager for Costcutter at their York HQ, said: “I’m so grateful for the research that’s helped me and now I want to help others by supporting Cancer Research UK’s work.”
“I’m determined to help others by raising more money so Cancer Research UK can ensure even more people like me survive. So I’m urging the brave ladies of the region to take part in Race for Life and help beat cancer sooner.”
Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, in partnership with Tesco, is running a women-only series of 5k, 10k, Pretty Muddy and Marathon events which raises millions of pounds every year to help fund vital research.
To enter Race for Life today visit www.raceforlife.org or call 0300 123 0770.