Julie Rose
Julie with her three children

Mum told cancer might cause ‘spine to snap’ while on holiday supports Race for Life

A MUM whose family holiday in Cyprus was shattered when she was told her rare cancer had spread is backing a fun charity event.

Mother of three Julie Rose from Bridgwater, had just got off the plane in Paphos, looking forward to a relaxing week in the sun, when she had an urgent call from a nurse telling her that any sudden movement could snap her spine.

Julie said: “I was told that one of the tumours was compressing against my spinal cord and that it might snap if I jolted it.

“She said that if I was at home, an ambulance would be sent to take me to hospital for an urgent MRI and then surgery.”

The freelance photographer is sharing her story to highlight the need for continued research to beat cancer and is urging people to run, walk or jog 5K for Cancer Research UK.

She will be cheering on thousands of people from across the UK who have vowed to Race for Life at Home this April, either alone or in small, socially distanced groups and raise money for life-saving research.

Julie, 48, explained: “I had a really optimistic attitude after being told I had cancer in October last year and I didn’t think it would be anything too much to worry about.

“When I entered the room where the doctor and a nurse were waiting for me it was explained I had a rare type of thyroid cancer called Medullary thyroid cancer.

“I broke down at the shock of the news and fired a million questions at him. My brain went into overload. The doctor explained they would need to send me for a CT scan to check it hadn’t spread to anywhere else.

“I told him I had a holiday booked in a few weeks’ time and he said I would be ok to go as nothing would happen sooner.

“When I had the call while on holiday to say the cancer had spread, you can imagine I spent the rest of the week trying to digest this awful news.

“I was afraid to move in case I snapped. I pulled myself together and put on a brave face for the rest of the holiday for the sake of my children.”

When she arrived home, Julie went straight to hospital the next day, had the MRI and then surgery to remove the tumour the next day.

After three weeks she had a thyroidectomy and lymph node dissection. “It all happened so quickly, from living a normal life and being very active to being told I had advanced cancer with a compromised future,” she said.

“I’m currently placed on watch and wait rather than having any drug treatments. As a single parent with three children I wanted to have the best option for me as it allows me to live my best life without drugs.”

She added: “I am hopeful that there are treatments available for me, but I will never be cured. and most treatments don’t sound very kind. It’s a long road ahead and my life has been turned completely upside down, and my future is uncertain, ever since that awful day that cancer knocked on my door.”

People can visit raceforlife.org to sign up to Race for Life at Home for £5 then receive a Race pack which includes a medal.  Money raised will help scientists find new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, helping to save more lives.

Cancer Research UK is predicting a staggering £300 million drop in income caused by COVID-19 over the next three years which could put future medical breakthroughs at risk. All 400 mass-participation Race for Life events across the UK were cancelled last year to protect the country’s health during the pandemic.

Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, in partnership with Tesco, is an inspiring series of 3k, 5k, 10k, Pretty Muddy and Pretty Muddy Kids events which raise millions of pounds every year to help beat cancer by funding crucial research.

A live broadcast on the Cancer Research UK Race for Life Facebook and Race for Life Instagram pages on Saturday (April 24) will include an energiser from a fitness expert as well as inspirational messages of support from people who have been through cancer.

Participants are then invited to run, walk or jog 5K. Organisers are also inviting participants to share photos and videos on social media using the hashtag #RaceatHome

Alison Birkett, Cancer Research UK’s spokesperson for Somerset, said: “Even while we’re still apart, we can unite against cancer.  The truth is, COVID-19 has slowed us down.  But we will never stop and we are absolutely determined to continue to create better cancer treatments for tomorrow.

“Even though we have to Race for Life differently this spring, nothing is going to stop us running, walking or jogging 5K to raise money to help beat cancer. That’s why we need as many people as possible across Somerset to sign up to Race for Life at Home this April, to stand united and do something extraordinary to help beat cancer.

“We’re constantly monitoring the COVID-19 situation and are working hard to move our mass participation Race for Life events to the autumn and to make sure they can go ahead safely and with all necessary COVID-19 guidelines in place.

The Race for Life 5K which is open to all ages and abilities has been rescheduled for this autumn and is now due to take place at Bridgwater and Taunton College on Sunday, October 10 at 12.15pm.

Sign up to Race for Life at Home this April, and visit raceforlife.org or call 0300 123 0770. Join in and share with #RaceatHome

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