Celebrating our inspiring female supporters this International Women’s Day

International Women's Day

For International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating 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.

This story was updated March 2024.

Emilie: nurse runs London Marathon in memory of grandfather

Emilie AdamsEmilie Adams is a 24-year-old registered nurse and medical student at Munich University who ran the London Marathon 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 last year, Emilie’s grandmother died from cancer and her friend’s daughter was diagnosed with leukaemia.

Emilie hopes that the money she raised by running the 2023 London Marathon can facilitate more cancer research so we can get a step closer to finding out why this illness arises.

Claire & Amy: empowering others through movement

Claire Burlison
Claire Burlison

Claire Burlison, founder of Clubbercise and Amy Bobbins, a Clubbercise instructor, both in their 40s, provide fun fitness classes for people of different abilities.

Claire had a bowel cancer diagnosis in 2020 and Amy was diagnosed with breast cancer last September.

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.

> Read more about Clubbercise in our Dance yourself fit blog

Michelle: parkrun director took on London Marathon

Michelle LewisMichelle Lewis (48) ran last year’s London Marathon after her best friend Debs died from a rare type of bowel cancer and another friend, Wah Wang, from pancreatic cancer.

Michelle met Debs when she was travelling 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 2018, Michelle’s friend Wah was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and died 5 months 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 raised more than £3,000!

Nikki: journey with stage 3 breast cancer

Nikki BednallIn 2017, at the age of 48, Nikki Bednall 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.”

> Read more of Nikki’s story

Jodie: yoga helped with cancer diagnosis

JodieAt the age of 32, Jodie Burdett 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.”

> See Jodie star in our Christmas video

> Get involved and fundraise for World Cancer Research Fund

> Get support and advice if you’re living with or beyond a cancer diagnosis