Get involved with Yate Relay for Life, urges cancer survivor mum
A MUM who survived bowel cancer soon after giving birth is urging people to get involved in this year’s Yate Relay for Life.
The event at Yate Outdoor Sports Complex has raised more than £500,000 for Cancer Research UK during its history and returns for a 14th time in July.
Participants sign up in a team of between six and 12 people and fundraise until the event takes place. The relay, with the theme Cancer Never Sleeps, sees teams take on the challenge of having at least one person walking around the track continuously for 24 hours, tagging others in their group to take their turn. Last year 40 teams took part.
Entertainment is provided all night, and families camp, setting up small stalls outside their tents to continue to raise funds.
Tina Angell, who is on the organising committee, started having symptoms aged just 22, when her son was about nine months old.
She said: “I started off with tummy pains. They told me I was just recovering from delivery. Then I noticed my appetite was going. I was losing weight, I was exhausted all the time, and my bowel habits were all over the place. I was even told that I had some strange form of postnatal depression and was imagining my symptoms.”
Tina was eventually admitted to hospital in severe pain, where doctors decided to do surgery to find out what was wrong. When a sample returned from the lab she was diagnosed with cancer.
After six weeks in hospital, Tina had five months of chemotherapy, surgery to remove a colostomy bag followed by months of recovery and can still end up in hospital 16 years on because the internal scar tissue can flare up.
Tina’s son is now 18 and about to do his A levels, while Tina is working hard with the committee to make sure that Relay for Life is as successful as ever.
She said: “Once people have experienced it for the first time they want to come back and do it again and they want to be a part of making it happen. Walking through the night, you have the most amazing conversations with people.”
The event starts with an opening lap by guests of honour who are cancer survivors, above, while at the end there is a ‘candle of hope’ ceremony, where people remember lost loved ones.
Tina said: “It's so difficult to sum up how special and unique Relay is – having taken part in it a few times myself as a survivor, I can honestly say it's one of the most inspirational, humbling and moving things I have ever experienced.”
Relay for Life takes place on July 6-7. To get involved visit yaterelayforlife.org.uk online.