THOUSANDS of women joined the fight against cancer at Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life in Cardiff yesterday.
Around 4,500 women – including cancer survivors and participants who took part in memory or celebration or a loved one – came together for the 5k and 10k event at Bute Park.
Bethan Thomas, a 28-year-old breast cancer survivor shared her story on stage before sounding the airhorn to set a sea of pink runners on their way.
Aged only 27 at the time, Bethan, of Cyncoed, thought a small lump in her breast was nothing to worry about.
Bethan, a contractor for Lloyds Bank, said:
“I was told not to worry as it was most likely going to be fibrocystic tissue. My cousin had been diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 32 but I just thought she’d been unlucky. Then, on 24 March I found out it was cancerous. I was only 27 at the time.”
In 2015, around 2,800 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in Wales. Each year around 260 women under the age of 30 are diagnosed with the disease in the UK.
Bethan had surgery to remove the lump as well as radiotherapy and chemotherapy. She finished her final course of treatment in December last year.
“I never thought I would get cancer at the age of 27. Nothing prepares you for the diagnosis. My experience means I understand all too clearly why Cancer Research UK’s work is so important.
“I have had a fantastic day today and I’m really honoured that I was asked to start the race. I would like to thank Cancer Research UK for organising such a fantastic event which was a real celebration for me and my family and friends who also took part.”
Bethan completed the 5k in 30 minutes and is already planning to take part again next year.
Natalia Davies from Barry completed the 10k event. The 23-year-old was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia a month before her fifth birthday after experiencing flu-like symptoms and bruising on her body.
Natalia, who starts her new job as a drama teacher in September, had chemotherapy which lasted two years.
“I had an amazing day today. If it wasn’t for research, medication and support, I can without doubt say I would not be here today. I am 16 years cancer free and in my first year of being discharged from hospital. I’m so grateful for the treatment that saved my life and that’s why I want to do everything I can to raise funds and awareness for Cancer Research UK.”
Mum-of-three Lisa Taylor from Llanedeyrn, who had her breasts and ovaries removed after being diagnosed with the faulty BRCA2 gene, described the day as “emotional”.
“I wanted complete the race for my dad, my aunties and my granddad who sadly lost their lives to the disease. Race for Life is such an inspirational event and I’m proud that I took part today.”
Katie Cooze, Cancer Research UK’s Event Manager for Race for Life in Cardiff, said:
“Our amazing supporters gave it their all in Cardiff and the atmosphere was electric as women of all shapes and sizes united to beat cancer. Every day, around 52 people are diagnosed with cancer in Wales. Money raised – whether it’s £10 or £100 – will help Cancer Research UK scientists find new ways to treat cancer and save more lives.”
There is still time to enter Cancer Research UK’s Pretty Muddy event in Cardiff on 8thSeptember. To sign up, visit raceforlife.org or call 0300 123 0770