Fighting dirty for brave mum

Getting ready for the Blackpool Pretty Muddy in aid of Cancer Research UK. L-r Clare Cookney, Jayne Fort and Helen Bradley along with Eve Whitaker aged 12. Picture by Paul Heyes, Sunday August 07, 2016.
Getting ready for the Blackpool Pretty Muddy in aid of Cancer Research UK. L-r Clare Cookney, Jayne Fort and Helen Bradley along with Eve Whitaker aged 12. Picture by Paul Heyes, Sunday August 07, 2016.
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The family and friends of a brave mum who lost her fight to cancer in June are calling on women to fight dirty to help fund life-saving research.

Sarah Colledge’s close friend, two sisters and her children are urging as many women as possible to sign up to Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life Pretty Muddy event.

Helen Bradley, Jayne Fort and Clare Cookney will be taking part in the unique obstacle course – with added mud – being held for the first time in Blackpool at the Lawson Showground, on September 17.

The trio are taking part in the 5k challenge in tribute to Sarah.

Sarah, of Blackpool, was diagnosed with cancer in 2013. A lump was discovered in her lower left stomach after a routine operation. Tests revealed it was a fluid filled ovarian cyst, which was removed during further surgery at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

Sarah started to suffer from excruciating pain and told doctors she could feel a rapidly growing lump in her stomach. The pain became so bad, Sarah had to give up work and could barely move. She underwent a biopsy and while she was waiting for the results, she was admitted to hospital after a serious episode of bleeding, vomiting and stomach cramps.

Doctors initially thought she could have ovarian cancer, but following a number of CT, MRI scans and X-rays, Sarah was told she had an unknown primary cancer. Sarah was told most of the cancer was in her bowel and if she didn’t undergo major surgery her prognosis stood at around six months.

She underwent an 11 hour operation involving a hysterectomy, lower left stomach muscles being removed, major reconstruction of the abdomen, partial removal of the bowel, a colostomy and stents in the bladder.

The surgeon also had to shave some of Sarah’s hip bone off as the cancer had started to grow there. Just weeks after surgery, Sarah started chemotherapy which lasted for six months.

Twelve months later, Sarah was told the cancer had returned and she once again began chemotherapy treatment.

Despite being in terrible pain, she amazed family and friends with her positive attitude and continued to support Cancer Research UK, by being VIP guest at Race for Life in 2015, fundraising for the charity and setting up a support group for patients.

The brave mum died in June this year, aged just 38 – leaving her partner Kenny, daughter Eve, aged 12 and 15-year-old son William.

Sister Jayne Fort, 37, who works as a florist in Poulton and lives in Norbreck, said: “Sarah was a remarkable person and we all miss her desperately.

“She inspired everyone she met as she was just so positive and determined to keep going for her children.”

Sarah’s other sister, Clare Cookney, 33, who lives in Poulton, said: “We loved taking part in Race for Life in Blackpool last month, but it was a very emotional event too and we so wish Sarah could have been with us.

“We are now looking forward to taking on another challenge in tribute to her courage – she would laugh if she knew we were getting muddy for such a good cause.”

They are calling on other local women to join them to slip, slide and splash their way over, under and through a range of obstacles – from scramble nets, tunnels and hurdles, to the final challenge of the giant inflatable slide – all to raise vital funds for Cancer Research UK’s life-saving work.

• To take part, visit raceforlife.org or call 0300 123 0770.