A DETERMINED family hit by a double cancer tragedy in less than a week are preparing to push their wheelchair-bound grandmother around the Race for Life course in support of cancer.
Helen Butler, an administrator at NHS Derbyshire County, her six-months pregnant sister-in-law, Vicky, and her two children, Aidan, 11, and Keira, 9, of Inkersall will be wearing pink wigs and tutus so they can push their grandmother, Margaret, around the course after losing two family members to one of the UK’s biggest killers in May this year.
According to Cancer Research UK, someone in the UK is told they have cancer every two minutes. And it was this extraordinary heartache that hit the family earlier this year, when their cousin, Les, and his daughter, Kay, were both diagnosed with cancer.
After months of battling the disease, brave Kay, a mother-of-two, appeared to have to fought off the disease when she returned home after months of radiotherapy and chemotherapy, died of spine cancer at the age of 45. Les, her father, gave up his fight six days later – dying of lung cancer, after having had chemotherapy. Les leaves his widow Audrey, son and daughter-in-law, Craig and Dawn, and five grandchildren. Kay leaves behind her husband and two young teenage sons.
Helen Butler, administrator support officer for NHS Derbyshire County, said: “They were both fighting the disease at the same time, and as soon as Kay went her dad gave up, too. They were both really brave.
“It’ll be an emotional day, especially when we’re warming up, reflecting on the loved ones we’ve lost.
“But cancer is a hard disease to beat, and that’s why we’re running – because we were inspired by our family’s brave fight against cancer and we want to do all we can to help others.
“My son’s also determined he’ll get grandma up those hills, and he’ll get her to the finishing line no matter what!”
On the day they hope to raise over £600 for Cancer Research UK, who have saved millions of lives by finding new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer.
Sadly not all cancers can be detected but cancer screening specialists from NHS Derbyshire County urged women to take advantage of breast cancer and cervical cancer screening appointments which can save lives.
Julie Yapp, cervical screening coordinator for NHS Derbyshire County, said: “It sounds obvious but early diagnosis does mean early intervention, so it really is vital that women go along for breast and cervical cancer screening appointments because it could make all the difference and save a life.”