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Harrogate cancer survivor urges women to sign up for Race for Life

The countdown is on to Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life in Harrogate and one cancer survivor is calling on women to sign up now.

With under two weeks to go until the big day, organisers are sending out a heart-felt SOS to local ladies to join the pink army as fewer than expected have registered for the life-saving fundraiser. And if fewer women take part, there will be less money to fund vital research.

One lady that knows all too well just how important research is, is Kath Materson, who was treated for a spinal tumour.

  • Race for Life Pretty Muddy, Saturday 9 July, Ripley Castle
  • Race for Life 5k, Sunday 10 July, Ripley Castle

Having been diagnosed Kath was given the agonising decision whether or not she wanted to undergo serious surgery which carried the risk of paralysis.

The active grandmother of four, who regularly cycled, was forced to proceed with the surgery when she started to experience some numbness and pain suggesting the tumour was growing and she risked paralysis without it.

The five hour operation involved the surgeon cutting into Kath’s spine to remove the large tumour.

Kath, 57, said:

The surgery saved my life as the biopsy revealed it was malignant and had dislodged from my brain and attached to the spine. I went on to have six weeks of radiotherapy to make sure there was no trace of the cancer after the surgery.

Despite the extensive surgery and the uncertainty of whether she would be able to walk again, Kath was back on her feet again in days.

Two years on from her treatment she continues to have annual scans and checkups and the latest results showed she is still all clear.

Kath will be taking on Race for Life in Harrogate on Sunday 10 July 2016, having already done York in June with her grandchildren Ashlee and Aaron.

Kath said:

I’ve been doing Race for Life for years and now I have my own personal reason for taking part. Thanks to research I’m still here today and can continue to take part. Research is very expensive and the only way we can afford to fund it, and save lives, is with events like this.

Taking part in Race for Life, alongside thousands of like-minded women, is incredibly motivating. The atmosphere at all the events is full of emotion and I hope women take this opportunity to join me in Harrogate in the fight against cancer.

Entry closes on Thursday 7 July and mums, daughters, grannies, sisters, friends and workmates who want to take part in the 5k and Pretty Muddy events are encouraged to sign up at

Georgina Thornton, Event Manager for Race for Life in Harrogate, said:

We are absolutely thrilled that so over 3,000 women like Kath have already entered so far.  But we still have places left to fill, so we’re urging anyone who has been thinking about it to commit and take action today and take part in the Pretty Muddy on Saturday or the traditional, cleaner, 5k on Sunday.

It could be that many women have simply forgotten to enter this year or feel that they don’t need to take part again.  One in two people in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives so we want to remind these ‘missing’ women just how important their contribution to Race for Life is.

Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, in partnership with Tesco for the past 15 years, is an inspiring women-only series of 5k, 10k, Pretty Muddy, marathon and hiking events which raises millions of pounds every year to fund research to help beat 200 types of cancer.

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 Harrogate and the UK.

To enter Race for Life visit or call 0300 123 0770.

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