Mum who beat bowel cancer reveals pride in starting Northampton’s Race For Life

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A Northampton mum, who has beaten bowel cancer, says she is honoured to be speaking on stage and to be setting the runners off at the town’s Race for Life event next month.

Deborah James, who is mum to Grace, six, will be sharing her story with the pink army before they set off on the 5k and 10k Race for Life courses at Abington Park on Sunday 5th June.

The 36-year-old has taken part in Race for Life a number of times but never thought she would one day benefit from the research she’s helped to fund.

Mrs James was diagnosed with bowel cancer in May 2015. She had surgery, followed by gruelling chemotherapy and was given the all clear earlier this year.

Now with just two weeks to go until the event and time running out for people to sign up, the HR worker is calling on other mums, daughters, sisters and friends to follow her lead, form their own mini regiments and swell the ranks of Race for Life’s pink army by signing up at www.raceforlife.org

Deborah said: “I’m nervous about speaking on stage but looking forward to it. I’ll be taking part on the day with my team - the super strong Eagles!

“There are 13 of us including me and my daughter, friends and their children. It will be big day for us after everything that’s happened this past year.”

Deborah had been ill for around 18 months before her cancer was discovered. She had been diagnosed with Coeliac Disease and changed her diet but was still experiencing severe bouts of sickness. A colonoscopy was carried out and the tumour was discovered.

Deborah said: “I had my diagnosis on the Friday of the Bank Holiday weekend and by that Monday I was in excruciating pain. I was rushed in that evening and they said we have to do an emergency operation.

“They removed the right side of my colon, the tumour and my appendix, as it was about to burst. The cancer had spread to 9 of my 11 lymph nodes, they had to be removed and it meant I definitely had to have chemotherapy.

“I’ve had amazing support from family and friends. It has been really tough though. My daughter went through a phase of asking, ‘Mummy are you going to die?’ I would tell her I wasn’t planning on it anytime soon.

“I just have to get on with it and get through the next few years. I have regular check-ups and everything has been fine so far. The first two years are when it’s most likely to come back, if I’m cancer free for five years I’ll be ok.”

Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, in partnership with Tesco, is an inspiring women-only series of 5k, 10k, Pretty Muddy events which raises millions of pounds every year to help fund life-saving research.

In Northampton the Pretty Muddy obstacle course is taking place on Saturday 4th June at Abington Park. The 5k and 10k Race for Life events are being held at the same venue the following day.

Danielle Glavin, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for the East Midlands, said: “Deborah is an amazing and inspiring woman who embodies the Race for Life spirit. Since her diagnosis she has helped to raise awareness of the symptoms of bowel cancer and now she is fundraising for vital research. We are proud to have her on stage at Race for Life.

“The events are not competitive. They are not about being fit or fast. Taking part is about being part of a collective force of powerful women - of all ages - leading the charge against cancer.

“There are lots of different events to choose from - with 5k, 10k and Pretty Muddy events there’s something to suit everyone. We’re urging women to pick the event that puts fire in their bellies and sign up as soon as possible.”

Money raised through Race for Life allows Cancer Research UK’s doctors, nurses and scientists to advance research which is helping to save the lives of men, women and children across the East Midlands.

To enter Race for Life today visit www.raceforlife.org or call 0300 123 0770.