COURAGEOUS Kirkham woman Pauline Weller knows first-hand about the vital work charities like Cancer Research UK do.
As a cancer survivor, she will be celebrating her own victory against the disease when she joins thousands of other local women on July 4, in the annual Blackpool Race for Life.
This year’s event has been moved to the Promenade – from Lawson’s Showground – to allow even more women to take part and run, walk or jog the 5k route together.
And Pauline can’t wait to take part.
She had already taken part in the Race for Life in previous years, but in January 2010 was diagnosed with breast cancer.
She had discovered a lump in her breast in October 2009 and after it started to appear more definite, she became concerned and went to see her GP.
By then, she had a strong suspicion it was breast cancer and when she was referred to Blackpool Victoria Hospital for tests, her fears were confirmed.
In February 2010, just weeks later, she was admitted to the Fylde Coast Hospital where she had a mastectomy.
Pauline, who works as an administrator, says although having a mastectomy was a difficult experience, she has adjusted well to life with a prosthetic breast.
After surgery, she underwent six sessions of chemotherapy, which started in March 2010 at The Vic.
She said: “The chemotherapy was the most difficult part of having cancer, with feeling extremely ill.
“I didn’t wear scarves or wigs, because I found those made me feel worse and more self-conscious and I actually sort of forgot I had no hair after a while.”
After chemo, Pauline had 15 sessions of radiotherapy at Royal Preston Hospital and after three months off work, she began a phased return.
Now the 54-year-old is looking forward to this year’s Race for Life to help put something back for the care she received.
She said: “I wanted to do it during my treatment, but was too ill. I have done it in the past, years ago, with my friends and work colleagues.
“It was lovely doing it as part of a big group, we had a fantastic time and it was great to support such a worthwhile cause.
“Race for Life is a very moving and emotional experience and I am looking forward to doing it again.”
Last year, 2,862 women took part in Race for Life in Blackpool and raised £114,284.
Laura Taylor, Cancer Research UK’s Blackpool events manager, said: “Come on ladies - please enter Race for Life Blackpool.
“It’s all of us versus cancer and we need you to join the fight as soon as possible.
“We know many women want to take part in Race for Life, but are worried they won’t be able to complete the course.
“We want to reassure them Race for Life is not being fast or fit.
“Instead, it’s a celebration of sisterhood and hope.”
To join Pauline and enter Race for Life, log on to www.raceforlife.org or call 0871 641 1111.