Survivor celebrates 10 years cancer-free at Wigan's Race for Life

A breast cancer survivor and stalwart fund-raiser will be the special guest at Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life in Wigan.

Lesley Watmough, who lives in Marylebone, took part in her first Race for Life at Haigh Woodland Park in 2011.

She has taken part every year since and even organised her own Race for Life at Home during the pandemic.

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Lesley Watmough thanks her friends and family for sponsoring her every year

In 2012, Lesley found a lump on her right breast and tests showed she had breast cancer. The 56-year-old had a mastectomy just weeks later, but then faced an agonising wait.

She was overjoyed to be told the cancer had not spread, but was given chemotherapy and radiotherapy as a precaution.

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Lesley continued working as a chartered surveyor during chemotherapy and did her best to keep a normal routine, including swimming and yoga.

She took part in Race for Life at Haigh while she had no hair and found it a positive experience.

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Lesley is ranked as one of the highest individual fund-raisers for Race for Life in Wigan, having raised more than £11,000.

She is proudly marking a decade of being cancer-free in 2022 and describes herself as a “Race for Life addict”.

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Lesley will be the special guest at Race for Life on Wednesday, May 18, when she will sound the starter horn and set participants on their way before joining in herself.

She said: “I am absolutely delighted to be special guest at Race for Life in May as it’s been such a huge part of my life.

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“When I was given the cancer diagnosis, I was just stunned. I felt happy and healthy and didn’t think anything was wrong with me. But I was fortunate to have excellent healthcare from the word go. I feel very lucky to be alive today as ladies I have known, who also had breast cancer since my diagnosis, have sadly died.

“I got so much support when I did Race for Life, with people patting me on the back and clapping and cheering for me. I was determined to make it around the course despite feeling so tired from the treatment. Having cancer has changed my outlook on life. I’m living in the here and now and not putting things off.

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“It’s thanks to advances in research and treatments that I’m here and can enjoy more special moments with my family and friends and play my part to fund research today which I hope will also help beat cancer for future generations.”

There will also be a Race for Life event at Haydock on Sunday, July 10, though the annual event at Pennington Flash cannot go ahead this year due to work there. 

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Jane Bullock, Cancer Research UK’s spokesperson in the North West, said: “We are incredibly grateful to Lesley for her many years of support.

“Sadly, cancer affects all of us in some way. Whether people are living with cancer, taking part in honour of or in memory of a loved one with cancer, or signing up to protect their own children’s future, everyone has a reason to Race for Life. So we’re asking people across the region: ‘Who will you race for?’”

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