AN inspirational teacher who had to learn how to walk again after being struck by cancer is gearing up to take part in a challenging fundraising mission.
It is ten years since 28-year-old Caroline Fernandez, of Searston Avenue, Holmewood, finished receiving treatment after being diagnosed with a bone tumour in her left leg on her 17th birthday.
Now, after defying the odds, Caroline will walk about 17 miles from Chesterfield to Sheffield to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust Unit at Weston Park Hospital, Sheffield, where she received treatment.
Caroline, a lecturer at Chesterfield College, said: “Life has been very difficult – I’ve been through a lot of ups and downs.
“But now I want to do things to help others and say a big thank you to the Teenage Cancer Trust Unit because without them I wouldn’t be here today.”
Caroline, who has a titanium bone and knee, underwent gruelling chemotherapy and physiotherapy so she could walk again.
“It was a very tough time – and to this day I can’t crawl, I can’t crouch, I can’t run. Every day I wake up in pain and go to bed in pain.
“I’m under no illusion that this walk is going to be very challenging – but I like a challenge,” said Caroline, who will use crutches for this weekend’s fundraiser, which she has organised.
“When I was ill, I just thought about the present day. I didn’t think about the future. I hadn’t planned to be here right now.
“But a few years ago, I started thinking ‘Caroline, you’ve got a future – make every moment count’ – and I intend to do that,” she added.
While receiving treatment, Caroline met and married budding poet Neil Smith. But tragically Neil died following a long battle with cancer.
Caroline said that the walk would be in memory of Neil. “I’ll never forget him,” she added.
Around 25 big-hearted people will take part in the walk, on Saturday, which starts outside Argos and finishes at Weston Park Hospital.
If you would like to sponsor Caroline, log on to www.justgiving.com/caroline-fernandez0
l Have you triumphed over adversity amd are you doing something for charity? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to 37 Station Road, Chesterfield, S41 7XD.