Alison, 60, who lives in Bournemouth, raised £2,500 for us by power-walking October’s virtual London Marathon which was postponed from its Spring date due to coronavirus. Alison battled wind, rain and flood warnings to complete her 26.2-mile route and raise money for other local people living with cancer after we supported her through her terminal cancer diagnosis.
“In January 2019 I was told I had a year to live. I had been diagnosed with cancer of unknown primary (CUP) which means cancer spread had been found in my body (secondary cancer), but my doctors weren’t sure where the primary cancer had started. I had a small lump in my neck which meant the cancer had spread to my lymph nodes and many months later found out it had started as lung cancer.
When my doctor gave me the news at the hospital it was an absolute shock. I just didn’t know what to do. My daughter was waiting for me outside and I was dreading going out and having to see the look on her face when I told her. Just hearing the word ‘cancer’ filled me with total fear and I felt petrified.
I Googled ‘cancer support’ in my area but most of the help available looked really scary and overwhelming. I didn’t want to go back into a hospital environment, but I knew I needed something. I lost some friends when I told them I had cancer, and it made me feel even more isolated. A close friend mentioned Wessex Cancer Support, and the name had a comforting ring about it. As soon as I walked through the door of their cancer support centre in Bournemouth, the fear I’d been feeling since the day of my diagnosis lifted.
It was like being wrapped up in a warm hug in my own living room and I knew immediately that I was with friends who understood. The befrienders helped me see that cancer didn’t need to define me as a person and just popping in for something as simple as a tea and a biscuit and having a chat began to make a huge difference in helping me to feel like me again. I’ve been doing shamanic drumming and would recommend it to anyone. It’s an ancient approach that uses the rhythm of drums to promote healing and self-expression. I feel like I’m at the top of a ladder and on a high for a week! I absolutely love it.
I’m having chemotherapy and immunotherapy every three weeks and my immunotherapy is licenced for two years, which means my treatment will finish in March 2021. At the moment I’m doing well. Cancer has certainly made me want to get the most out of life and that’s why I signed up for the London Marathon. It was my first marathon and such a huge achievement for me and my dodgy knees! I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when I saw the weather, and of course, the London Marathon crowd plays a huge part in keeping you going at the actual event, but it was my determination that got me over the finish line.
I’m so proud of myself for going the distance, and hugely grateful to all the people who have donated so that Wessex Cancer Support can carry on providing their amazing support. It’s not just words, they really do care.
My motto now is that I can live with cancer, but I am not living waiting to die from it. Thank you Wessex Cancer Support for giving me my life back.”
We still have runner spaces for 2021 and 2022 London Marathon. If Alison’s story has inspired you to grab your trainers, register your interest here today.