COURAGEOUS sportswoman Kim Rossall is urging Fylde women to do their bit to help beat cancer.
Kim, 20, has been battling a rare form of the disease for two years and has been told her illness is terminal.
The brave Thornton woman is determined to make the most of every day and is to sign up for Race for Life in Blackpool – the 5k fun run to raise funds for Cancer Research UK.
Kim was chosen by the charity as the ambassador to launch Race for Life in the North West and will be guest of honour at the Blackpool event – this year following a new route and taking place, for the first time, along the Promenade.
She said: “I’m just living each day as it comes. I am making the most of every day and doing things I can look forward to.
“The biggest thing is the Race for Life. I am so excited to be involved in it. I’ve taken part in it before and it’s such an emotional event with a brilliant atmosphere.
“It depends on how my treatment goes, but I really would like to take part.
“But it will be an honour to stand up in front of the women of Blackpool and hopefully inspire them to raise as much money as possible for the charity’s work.”
The former Baines pupil has undergone gruelling and extensive treatment for the rare form of cancer, called Ewing’s sarcoma, since the age of 18.
She had always been a keen sportswoman, so when she initially developed pains in her right leg, she assumed it was a sport-related injury.
But when she developed a lump in the same spot, her GP referred her for an MRI scan at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.
Kim and her family were shocked to be told she had a cancerous tumour and needed immediate treatment. It was found the illness had also spread to her lungs.
Her treatment included chemotherapy, painstaking surgery – which involved her right femur and surrounding muscle being removed and replaced with titanium, radiotherapy and a stem cell transplant. But Kim managed to start a nursing degree in Leeds.
Then over Christmas and New Year, brave Kim became ill with what was initially thought to be a chest infection.
She and her family, including her 17-year-old sister, were given the heart-breaking news the cancer had returned to both lungs and was now incurable.
Kim is having palliative maintenance treatment, with chemotherapy and is focusing on forthcoming milestones – including her 21st birthday in April and the Race for Life in the summer.
She also hopes to take a trip to New Zealand to see a close friend.
Kim said: “I was devastated when I was diagnosed with cancer. The last couple of years have been incredibly tough with so much treatment and time spent in hospital.
“Having to pull out of my degree has been very sad, as I was determined to become a nurse. I don’t want cancer to define who I am – but I am extremely keen to raise awareness of the disease and ensure people know it affects the young as well as the old.”
Last year, 2,862 women in Blackpool took part in the Race for Life and raised £114,284. The charity is hoping to break that record in 2012.
Laura Taylor, Cancer Research UK’s Blackpool events manager, said: “Kim Rossall is the most amazing ambassador for the charity and we are totally bowled over by her support at such a difficult time for her. She’s an incredible inspiration.”
To enter Race for Life on Wednesday July 4, visit www.raceforlife.org or call 0871 641 1111.