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Port Talbot grandmother vows to race for life in memory of son

89 year old Connie Fouracre (right) with L-R grandaugters Lucy and Leanne and daughter Debbie at Race for Life Swansea in 2019

A supergran who lost her son to cancer is inspiring people to Race for Life at Home and carry on the fight against the disease in these unprecedented times.

Constance Fouracre, 89, will take on a 5K walk in a playing field near her home in Cwmafan, Port Talbot to raise vital funds for Cancer Research UK. She’s vowed to complete the challenge in honour of her son Christopher Fouracre who was just 63 when he died from oesophageal cancer in October 2018.

Constance, who has eight grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren, was hoping to take part in the Cancer Research UK Race for Life 5K at Museum Green, Swansea on Sunday July 19. She led four generations of her family who raised more than £800 last year. The Swansea Race for Life is among events which organisers Cancer Research UK have cancelled this spring and summer to protect the country’s health during the COVID-19 outbreak.

But as lockdown restrictions continue, undeterred women and men are already vowing to carry on and complete a Race for Life at Home challenge at home, in their garden or their nearest green space.

Constance said: “It was the worst moment of my life to watch my son pass away.

“I think about him every single day. I want to do Race for Life at Home for Chris and for all those battling through cancer.”

The sprightly pensioner says she has no fitness regime but stays healthy by “going up and down the stairs, pottering in the garden and going shopping”

Constance- who is known by friends and family as Connie- has fond memories of Race for Life Swansea last year and crossing the finish line with close family including her daughter Debbie, granddaughters Leanne, Lucy, Toni and Amy, and great granddaughters Lexie and Maddie.

Connie’s granddaughter Leanne Hurley said: “We had such a wonderful time at Race for Life Swansea last year and we were so looking forward to taking part again this summer.

“It was a really emotional day but also so wonderful to join everyone in remembering loved ones, when we saw everyone in their pink t-shirts and signs on their backs. It reminded us how many people are affected by cancer, so we wanted to do something even though we can’t all be together.

“Last year Nanna Connie walked all the way, she’s amazing, everyone loves her. The 10k runners were passing us on their way back and several people asked us if they can give her a hug. Spectators were cheering and clapping her and encouraging her to keep going. It was so touching. She made it to the end of the course and got to ring the bell in celebration.

“On the way round, we shared memories about my dad and after the event we all went to my mother’s house and she cooked for us all and we celebrated and shared stories. It was lovely”

“It’s sad that we can’t all be together right now, but we felt like by doing this we will be remembering my dad and helping to raise awareness of all those affected by cancer.”

Leanne said of her dad “We all really miss him, we were heartbroken when he died. He worked so hard and he loved life but the last few years were hard for him as he struggled to eat, swallow and talk”

Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, in partnership with Tesco, is an inspiring series of 5K, 10K, Muddy and Pretty Muddy Kids events which raise millions of pounds every year to help beat cancer by funding crucial research.

Thanks to the generosity of people across Wales, Race for Life participants last year raised £650,000 to support vital research to develop gentler and more effective treatments for cancer – a disease that will affect one-in-two people in the UK at some stage in their lives.

Cassandra Miles, Cancer Research UK’s spokesperson for Wales, said: “Connie and her family are inspirational, despite everything that’s going on and their own personal heartbreak their dedication is heart-warming and humbling. At a time when it feels like everything is at a standstill, there is one thing that hasn’t stopped, cancer.

“Our priority as a charity is ensuring that people affected by cancer are getting the support they need right now.

“But we are already getting people asking about doing Race for Life at Home because they don’t want to see the charity lose out on vital funding. It’s truly humbling to see the response.

“So, from their homes, we’d love for supporters to join us and Race for Life at Home in these challenging times. From a run or 5K walk around the garden to limbo in the living room, there is no wrong way to Race for Life at Home. With no entry fee, people might choose to twerk, limbo, star jump, squat, skip, dance, or come up with their own novel way of taking part and share it with friends. The message is very much that ‘while we might be apart, we’re doing this together’. There is no wrong way to get involved and join our community.

“Those lucky enough to have a garden may choose to make use of it but whatever people decide to do, we are immensely grateful for the support, now more than ever. If the idea takes off, we could be looking at hundreds of people in Wales stepping forward to Race for Life at Home and perhaps collecting sponsorship to do so.”

People can visit raceforlife.org and sign up free for ideas on how they can create their own Race for Life at Home challenge.