My Auntie Linda’s diagnosis of womb cancer earlier this year came as a huge shock to her and our whole family. Not only were we in the height of a pandemic but she hadn’t mentioned any symptoms before.
As we later found out she had been unwell for a while and had covered up the early signs. With the nature of her cancer and it being gynaecological, it was something that she may not have felt comfortable talking about. This is where the stigma around gynaecological health is a huge problem and I admire my aunt for having the confidence to eventually find courage and seek advice from her GP. The positive to this was that it led to multiple scans, tests and she found answers. Sadly, the news that followed was the shattering diagnosis of womb cancer.
My Auntie Linda had tremendous willpower and her positive outlook was incredible as she began her journey with chemo. Yes, she certainly had her darker days, sleepless nights and the months ahead of uncertainty, but she always remained optimistic.
I first decided to take on my 150km running challenge to give my Auntie Linda a daily dose of positivity while she was undergoing treatment. Some days were brighter than others, but my idea was to give her something else to focus on. So that she could track my progress and get excited by watching the sponsorship increase as the month went by. Not being a natural runner, taking on the challenge of 5km a day for a month was daunting, even more so in the height of a British winter. Every day I run I remind myself it is not as daunting as what my Auntie Linda faced and the other thousands of women around the world that have a gynae cancer.
The day before I was due to start my challenge, Auntie Linda was given the devastating news that her cancer was terminal and treatment was going to stop. My motivations for the challenge were amplified- not only for Auntie Linda but for the whole family. At this point I was still hopeful that she would see the month through, but heartbreakingly on day 10, my lovely Auntie Linda, very sadly passed away and we had to say goodbye. Taken far too soon and far too young I will continue to run for Linda. She meant the world to our family, with the biggest and kindest heart, she always made us laugh and we will forever miss the joy she brought to us all.
I have chosen to raise money for The Eve Appeal because I truly believe what they are doing is invaluable in raising awareness and lifting the taboo around gynecological cancer. As a young woman myself I am ashamed that my knowledge of the five gynaecological cancers was somewhat limited, until one of them came unexpectedly into my life.
I have been amazed by people’s support throughout the challenge, so far I have raised over £5000! I am so, so grateful. I have had friends and family from all round the world join me on socially distanced or virtual runs, from London, Sydney and Miami. I know my Auntie was so proud of what I was achieving, and I will continue to run for her and the thousands of other women and families that are going through this. And hopefully, prevent others from ever having to face the devastating consequences of a gynaecological cancer.