Nova Corcoran readily admits that telling people to get active to cut their cancer risk could be seen as slightly ironic.
However, the senior lecturer in public health at the University of South Wales (USW), is doing just that as she faces up to a major battle against breast cancer.
Nova, 41, from Pontypridd, started treatment for triple negative breast cancer – and uncommon form of the condition – late last year, and has since undergone a six-month course of chemotherapy, and a mastectomy. She is now facing radiotherapy, and potentially more chemo.
Although undergoing what can be a very arduous treatment regime, Nova has turned her diagnosis into a positive.
‘Obviously, it’s a bit of a surprise to be told you have breast cancer at 41, but I’m a fighter and it just made me determined to do something about it,” said Nova, who is married to Ben, and has two sons, Ostyn, 10, and Huxley, who’s eight.
“I remember thinking that people would tell me I wouldn’t be able to do certain things while I was on chemo.
“So instead of listening to them, I just decided I was going to get on with it. I wanted to motivate other people to get out and do things too.
“It’s quite a funny message to push – I was already active before I found out I had cancer, so telling people that being active can cut their risk of getting the disease could have been a bit of a hard sell.”
And talking of selling, Nova’s brother Fyn is leading a campaign to raise money for Velindre Cancer Centre in Cardiff – where Nova is receiving her treatment.
Under the social media hashtag #supernova, people are being urged to share videos and pictures of themselves getting active, while wearing specially-made T-shirts that have been on sale to support Nova’s efforts.
As well as the #supernova message, the specially made T-shirts that have been on sale to support Nova and are the idea of her brother Fyn.
As well as carrying the #supernova message, they also have the logo of Project HOP, which is Fyn’s small gym. They both believe being physically active is important and encourage others to get out and do something in their T-shirts. All profits from the sales are going to Velindre.
While doing her bit for the Cardiff Cancer Centre, Nova has also been given backing from USW when it hosts the UK Challenge – the country’s leading team development event – in July.
Over three days, the competitors – who will represent teams from companies including Accenture, Adidas, Airbus, CGI, Clinigen, Investec, JLR, Manchester City FC, Mitre Group, PwC, RAF, Scottish Power, Tesco, T-Systems and Waitrose – will undergo a range of physical and mental team challenges.
Although those taking part in UK Challenge are raising money for Cancer Research UK, USW’s team will be backing Nova’s efforts to raise money for Velindre.
“It’s brilliant to have USW’s support and backing, and I’m excited that we can do more fundraising through UK Challenge,” Nova added.
To support the fundraising efforts, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/projecthop