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Lorraine, a prescription clerk for the NHS in Harrogate, was only 4 years old when her Grandma, Ollie Simpson died of breast cancer aged 48.
Lorraine’s mum Joan Spooner, from Pelton near Chester-le-Street was then diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2017, aged 70. The Consultant said to her mum that Lorraine should have a routine mammogram and she did.
She was recalled for further tests three days after (on her dad’s birthday) and was diagnosed with breast cancer a week later on 4 Oct 2017 – the day after her wedding anniversary.
Lorraine is 48 now, the same age her Grandma was when she died of breast cancer and will be remembering her Grandma as she rings the bell to start the race.
It was a real shock when mum was diagnosed with breast cancer. We thought she had missed out on it, given her age, but she too had breast cancer like Gran. The family rallied around mum and she was so strong and positive.
When I was diagnosed just a few months after, mum took on the role I did for her. She supported me through it all. It was nice to be able to go to her and talk about what I was going through because she understood. We both picked each other up when we were feeling low and she told me that if she could get through it, so could I. The experience has brought us both together, we supported each other every step of the way and are so much closer because of it.
When I ring the bell at the start of the Harrogate Race for Life, I’ll be thinking of my Grandma, and reflecting on what me and mum have been through. I imagine I’ll be emotional, but it’s an honour to do this as I know so many participants have their own stories.
Lorraine’s mum Joan had a full mastectomy as part of her treatment and was given the all-clear in July 2018. Lorraine had two lumpectomies, then a mastectomy. Lorraine finished her treatment by January 2018 and was given the all-clear in November 2018.
This will be Lorraine’s fifth time she’s taken part in the Race for Life in Harrogate and she completed Pretty Muddy last year.
It was such an experience, such a laugh. It was full of people supporting each other, which was lovely to see. It was so emotional too, seeing everyone’s back signs and who they were there for. I did it for my mum and Gran.
As a family, we’re determined to do all that we can to help raise money for life-saving research so more men, women and children can survive cancer. My experience means I understand all too clearly why Cancer Research UK’s work is so important. I’m urging the people of Harrogate to show their support and join the Race for Life because every participant can help make a real difference.
Since getting the all-clear, Lorraine has been working through her ‘bucket list’ with the help of her daughter Sophie (18) and husband Darren (44).
Lorraine and Darren renewed their wedding vows in a Hindu temple in India, the family went ‘raving’ in Ibiza, Lorraine and Darren stayed in a castle in Edinburgh and Lorraine is going to go in a hot air balloon over Ripley Castle in April this year.
One in two people in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer at some stage in their lives, but the good news is more people are surviving the disease now than ever before. Cancer survival in the UK has doubled since the early 1970s and Cancer Research UK’s work has been at the heart of that progress.
Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, in partnership with Tesco, is an inspiring series of 5k, 10k, Pretty Muddy and Pretty Muddy Kids events which raise millions of pounds every year to help beat cancer by funding crucial research.
Emma Colbourne, Cancer Research UK’s Harrogate Event Manager, said: “We are very grateful to Lorraine and Sophie for their support.
“By following their lead, and joining the Race for Life, supporters in Harrogate can make a real difference in the fight against cancer. Money raised will help Cancer Research UK scientists and doctors find new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat the disease, helping save more lives.
“Our Race for Life events are fun, colourful, emotional and uplifting. You don’t need to be sporty to take part. You don’t have to train, and you certainly don’t need to compete against anyone else. It’s a perfect example of everyday people doing an extraordinary thing – uniting in a common cause to beat cancer.”
Cancer Research UK’s life-saving work relies on the public’s support. Thanks to the generosity of its supporters, the charity was able to spend nearly £5 million last year in Yorkshire on some of the UK’s leading scientific and clinical research.
By taking part in Race for Life and raising money for research, our participants play a crucial role in helping to turn discoveries made in the lab into better treatments for patients in Yorkshire and across the UK.
To enter the Race for Life today visit raceforlife.org or call 0300 123 0770.
Race for Life events in North Yorkshire
Harrogate Pretty Muddy and Pretty Muddy Kids – Saturday 13 July, The Stray
Harrogate 5k and 10k – Sunday 14 July, The Stray