'I count myself lucky' - Helston woman treks Saharan desert for cancer charity

  • Watch Kathy Wardle's report here.

A woman from Helston, who has been through thyroid and breast cancer, has raised thousands of pounds for charity by trekking the Saharan desert.

Katie Chown, who has shared her experiences of cancer treatment through social media, is raising awareness about the signs of the disease.

Katie underwent treatment for thyroid cancer at just 15.

She then found a lump in her armpit at the age of 35 and was diagnosed with triple-positive breast cancer.

Chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy followed and Katie is still on hormone therapy which puts her body into medical menopause.

Katie is encouraging others to recognise the signs of cancer

Throughout her treatment, Katie blogged on social media sharing tips and encouraging others to check for signs of cancer.

She said: "So I've certainly not been shy about what I've been through many many people have seen my top half far too many times, I'm sure, because I've just been like come on guys, guys and girls you must check yourself regularly just to know what is normal for you basically."

As she recovered, Katie started working for the children's sailing trust at Trevassack Lake and signed up for a gruelling 100-kilometre trek across the Sahara desert in aid of cancer charity CoppaFeel. 

Intense training walking 20k stretches of Cornwall's coast path still wasn't enough to prepare her for the Moroccan desert.

Katie said: "I had a real whinge at one point. I was just like I don't know how I can carry on through this, it's so hot it's ridiculous, but of course, you've just got to keep putting one foot in front of the other and eventually, you could see that camp in the background in the distance and kept walking and two hours later it was still on the horizon, but yes it was a long day.

"Some people didn't cope very well, blisters were horrendous, there were a couple of people who got quite ill on the first day so they had to take time out from it and things so it was it was a proper challenge."

After completing the first leg Katie was dealt a devastating blow, testing positive for Covid, which ended her trip.

Despite her heartbreak, Katie still managed to raise almost £4,000 and hopes to rejoin another of CoppaFeel's charity treks this year.

She is still doing what she can to raise awareness of breast cancer.

She said: "Lots of us aren't here today because it's been left too late for one reason or another, and I just count myself lucky every day that I'm still here having these opportunities to go experience the Sahara and be here, and it's just yes I've been really lucky."

Katie is taking on a marathon-length trek through Peak District in May.