Ascot cancer survivor, 73, goes from barely being able to climb stairs to running races

10 April 2014

A cancer survivor who overcame the debilitating disease has gone from barely being able to walk to attending fit camps.

Pat Connery, 73, was diagnosed with a severe case of Hodgkins Disease in 2006, before undergoing nine months of gruelling chemotherapy treatment.

As part of her medication she was given steroids, which drove her weight up from 10 stone to 14.5 stone and found any physical activity practically impossible.

Yet the retired PA was determined to become healthy again, and in 2009 joined Ascot’s The Fitness Space, where she was trained by 400m Olympic athlete Tim Benjamin.

Now Pat attends fit camps, has run a 3km race and eats healthily as she follows the advice of the World Cancer Research Fund, a charity which researches cancer prevention and provides health information.

Pat, from London Road, Sunningdale, Ascot, learnt about the charity through Tim, who is running the Royal Parks Half Marathon for the charity in October to help raise funds for the charity.

She said: “Chemotherapy was dreadful. It was terrible to go through but I did it. My attitude was either fight it, or fall. It was very hard, but I refused to give up.

“After spending so long doing nothing but going through treatment and recovery, I was really out of shape. I decided on a whim to join The Fitness Space and walking up the stairs to the reception nearly killed me.

“When I started to train with Tim I had to hold on to his arm when I climbed on to the gym’s step box because I was so weak.

“But now I work out three times a week, I am hoping to do a 5km run and I eat very healthily. I’ve never been a gym bunny, but now I feel so much better.

“I really believe in the WCRF’s message that being healthy and active is so important when it comes to cancer prevention.”

It was in 2012 that Pat was given the all-clear, and will be inspiring Tim, who competed in the 2004 Olympics and World Championships, to complete the Royal Parks Half Marathon.

A spokesperson for WCRF said: “Pat’s story is truly inspirational. She endured gruelling treatment to not only overcome a debilitating disease, but has gone on to lead an active and healthy life. Her healthy eating and active life follow the recommendations of the WCRF, a charity which funds scientific research into cancer prevention and provides health information.

“About a third of the most common cancers can be prevented through healthy eating, physical activity and maintaining a healthy body weight.”