‘Without Cancer Research UK I simply would not be here’

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A JERSEY mother diagnosed with incurable cancer will be among 300 runners signed up for next week’s Race for Life event to benefit cancer research.

Rose Shepherd, a mother of two, said the importance of the fundraising event could not be overstated.

‘I want people to understand we need Cancer Research UK – without them, I wouldn’t be here today – it’s as simple as that,’ Ms Shepherd said.

Sixteen years after an initially successful battle with breast cancer, Ms Shepherd sadly learned in 2017 that her cancer had returned.

‘It seems one little cell had escaped through my bloodstream, and, all those years later, the cancer came back,’ she said.

Despite suffering from mobility issues, she will lead the 15-strong team called Jenroses Rainbow Warriors alongside her friend, Jenny Miley, who is coming to the end of her own treatment for breast cancer. The team will take part in the 3k race.

Other runners and teams will compete in 5k and 10k events in the charity’s biggest fundraising event of the year. Run, walk or jog, all ages and abilities are welcome and Race for Life organisers promise an inspiring and colourful event.

‘We’re incredibly grateful to Rose, Jenny and the team,’ said Lynn Daly, Cancer Research UK’s Jersey spokeswoman. ‘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 Islanders “Who will you race for?” ’

Funds raised support scientific research into new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, with the goal of saving and prolonging more lives. 

Ms Shepherd has taken a number of drugs Cancer Research UK helped develop since being diagnosed with five cancerous legions on her spine, five years ago.

‘I’m now on my third line of defence, a Cancer Research UK-funded drug called Capecitabine,’ she said.

Her devastating diagnosis meant she had to leave her job but she has turned her energy toward campaigning for a radiotherapy unity in Jersey, so patients would not have to travel to Southampton, as they do now. While she tries to remain positive, she has good days and bad days.

‘I allow myself the odd meltdown,’ she said.

‘You can stay in your PJs and have a “woe is me” day. It takes an awful lot of willpower to move on because it’s easier to lie in bed with the covers over your head.

‘So, I allow myself that now and again but I don’t allow myself to live there.’

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