For International Women’s Day 2023, we’re celebrating some amazing women who have been living with and beyond a cancer diagnosis and who follow our Recommendations, or who are fundraising in support of family members and friends who’ve been affected by cancer. Here are their stories..
8 March 2023
Emilie is a 23-year-old registered nurse and medical student at Munich University who decided to run for World Cancer Research Fund in memory of her grandfather, who despite living healthily was still diagnosed with cancer.
From his first diagnosis, and for the next 20 years, he would receive 4 more cancer diagnoses. His active and health-conscious way of life spurred Emilie on to run and fundraise for cancer. While training for the marathon recently, Emilie’s grandmother died from cancer and she has also found out her friend’s three-year-old daughter has been diagnosed with leukaemia.
On her reason for supporting World Cancer Research Fund, Emilie’s hope is to facilitate more cancer research and get a step closer to finding the answer as to “why” this illness arises. Emilie is running the Berlin, London and Munich Marathons.
Claire, founder of Clubbercise and Amy, a Clubbercise instructor, both in their 40s, provide fun fitness classes for people of different abilities.
Both women empower others through their Clubbercise classes and promote body confidence and positivity. Their classes blend club music with aerobic and street dance moves, with high and low-impact options that are accessible for all.
Michelle met Debs when she was traveling in Australia in her 20s. Three years after meeting, Debs was hit by a car in October 2003. She was rushed to hospital in severe pain and with a swollen stomach. The accident had triggered a rare type of cancer called pseudomyxoma peritonei – also known as “jelly belly”. Six months later, at only 29 years old, Debs died.
In February 2018, Michelle’s friend Wah was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and died 5 months later.
“17 marathons later, I’m now a run director at Northampton parkrun, ambassador for 5K Your Way at parkrun, and co-host a podcast with my husband, Craig. I also run a fitness business where I coach people of all ages – one of my clients has recently had breast cancer – another reason I’m supporting World Cancer Research Fund.”
Michelle has surpassed her fundraising target and raised over £3,000!
In 2017, at the age of 48, Nikki was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer – only 2 months after a car accident that left her with a ‘very nasty’ whiplash injury.
“I have had cancer, that’s my reality. So now I look to the future and for me that means doing everything in my power to reduce my risk of disease recurrence. My motto is: look after your body like you have nowhere else to live because the reality is, you don’t.
“However, it’s never easy to know what to do and the research out there is sometimes hard to find. I became confused as to what I should eat and avoid, and had a sense of urgency to “get it right”. One thing I did straight away was to stop drinking alcohol. This has been linked to an increased risk of developing breast cancer, as well as other cancers, so was a no brainer for me.”
At the age of 32, Jodie was diagnosed with breast cancer – a huge shock as she felt she was in her prime; recently married, with a two-year-old toddler and a secure job as a solicitor. Since then, Jodie trained as a yoga and wellness coach, and empowers others through movement.
Since Jodie’s diagnosis, she has developed an interest in wellbeing and mindfulness, and now teaches yoga full-time to people living with and beyond cancer.
“Since my diagnosis I have become a lot more particular about the food I eat and how I look after myself. I wanted to know, after pumping myself full of chemotherapy – which is effectively poison – what should I be eating? It was hard to find a balance and food became an effort rather than the luxury it had always been. I attended cook-along classes – this helped me learn, improve and develop my knowledge about nutrition.”