In 2005 I took part in the half MoonWalk in memory of my mum. My mum died from breast cancer at the age of 49, and as I was 49 that year I decided it would be the ideal time to take part in her memory. My daughter, Hazel, and my friend, Jean, walked with me. We decorated our clothes with my mum’s name and wore white caps to show we were walking the half marathon. On the bus back to Victoria I said that I thought I could have done the full marathon and decided to enter it the next year.
The following year, Hazel was pregnant and Jean said she wanted to volunteer rather than walk so my husband, Paul, said he would join me. We wore pink caps to show we were doing the full marathon. Unfortunately, at 14 miles, I fell over and was badly grazed. The medics said I couldn’t finish the walk.
I was determined to complete the full MoonWalk so in 2007, Paul and I entered again. We put in lots of training and spent lots of time walking around Chichester harbour. My father-in-law had been a PT in the army and Paul suggested we train to go further than a marathon so the MoonWalk wouldn’t feel as long! I was delighted to complete the full marathon this time. It was extra special as it was the ten year anniversary of the MoonWalk and we all wore luminous feet on our caps to celebrate.
In August 2010, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had a lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. During chemotherapy, I tried the old style cold ice caps but it didn’t work and I lost my hair by the second cycle. The chemotherapy affected my bones and I have had to have a hip replacement. I also sustained a compound fracture of my left forearm during a charity cycle ride which needed an operation to plate both the bones. I now have regular scans to check my bone density.
I went back to work whilst having radiotherapy – I would go to work in the morning and go for radiotherapy in the afternoon and vice versa. It was only when I went back to work that the enormity of what I had been through hit me. I had been off work for six months and was still feeling the effects of the treatment. I continued working but had my doubts about what I was doing and unsure what to do next.