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Race for Life across the region

Race for Life events get underway in Yorkshire today Photo:
Rachel Titherington having chemotherapy

Thousands of women will put their best foot forward for Race for Life today.

Races take place in Hull, Huddersfield and Ilkley.

In Huddersfield, a woman who survived cancer will fight back against the disease by taking part - and will be the guest of honour at the first of the two 5k Race for Life events.

Rachel Titherington, 25, who works in graphic design and marketing, was diagnosed last year with Hodgkin lymphoma - a cancer of the lymphatic system- just weeks after completing her first ever Race for Life.

It was June 2013 when Rachel first found a lump on her neck and she went to see her GP thinking that she would need antibiotics to clear it up. But when Rachel was referred for tests at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary she says it came as a huge shock.

She said: “Last year when I did Race for Life I had already found the lump in my neck, but was awaiting my referral for further tests - it was so strange to be at the event and all the time thinking that I might have cancer myself. It was a really supportive atmosphere and I thoroughly enjoyed taking part.”

In August Rachel had surgery to have the lump removed at Calderdale Royal Hospital in Halifax and following the surgery received the devastating news that she had Hodgkin lymphoma.

She then began six months of chemotherapy treatment at the young adult unit at St James’s University Hospital in Leeds. Midway through this treatment scans showed that Rachel had lumps in her neck, chest, pelvis and stomach but fortunately the treatment was working to reduce them.

Rachel completed her treatment in January this year and was given the all clear. She continues to go for checkups every three months to make sure the cancer hasn’t returned.

She added: “Taking part in Race for Life this year, is my way of hitting cancer where it hurts. I’m so grateful for the research that’s helped me and now I want to help others by supporting Cancer Research UK’s work.”

Although the number of people being diagnosed with cancer is going up - largely due to the fact that people are living longer and cancer is predominantly a disease of old age - the good news is that, thanks to research, survival rates have doubled in the past 40 years. More people across the Yorkshire are now beating the disease than ever before.

Philippa Sharpe, Cancer Research UK’s Huddersfield Events Manager, said: "More people in Yorkshire are surviving cancer than ever before. But while we’re heading in the right direction,too many lives are still being lost to the disease.

"Sadly, most of us know someone whose life has been touched by cancer and this really brings home how much more work there is to do. Our aim is that one day everyone will beat cancer. The more research we can fund, the sooner that day will come.”