A MENSTON cancer survivor is rallying women to join the fight against the disease by entering Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life.

Jess Blyth, 37, will be guest of honour at the 5k Race for Life event in Harrogate and the mum-of-two is encouraging mums, daughters, sisters and friends to join her on Sunday (July 16).

Jess, who will be joined at the event with her children Finton, eight, and Max, six, was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2016 after finding a lump while out running.

She said: “I was out running when I felt a lump in my breast. It took me a while to do anything about it, mainly as I'd found something the year before which turned out to be nothing to worry about. In hindsight I should have made an appointment with my GP straight away.

“When I was told it was cancer I was absolutely shell shocked. There’s no family history of cancer and it hadn’t been what I was expecting at all. I had a girly break booked and was determined not to let this be affected. Turns out this was exactly what I needed and they were such a massive support and have been right by my side throughout all my treatment.”

Following her diagnosis, which found cancer in both breasts and in the lymph nodes, Jess had a double mastectomy, six sessions of chemotherapy over 18 weeks, radiotherapy and is now on hormone therapy drugs to help prevent the cancer from returning.

Jess said: “When I was diagnosed there was no point in dwelling on what the treatment would be as there was no question about receiving it. I just wanted to get on with it and do what needed to be done to get rid of the cancer.

“One of the hardest parts was telling my two boys. Finton was just seven at the time, but he responded by wanting to do something to help other people, so he started making cards to sell to raise money. We agreed that when I was better we’d have a disco for all his friends. As promised we did just that and it turned out to be a sell out and it raised over £6000 which was split between Cancer Research UK and Breast Cancer Haven.”

The boys will join Jess at Race for Life and will take to the stage to talk about their experience and what they’ve done to support the charity.

So far they have raised £800 for Race for Life and will be taking part alongside Jess’s mum and friends who attended the disco.

Jess said: “Being diagnosed with cancer is really hard, but now that I’m cancer free it’s made me realise there’s no point in spoiling today worrying about tomorrow and just to make the most of each moment. I couldn’t have done this without my friends and family who kept me positive and upbeat throughout.

“I’m proud we have been able to turn this into something good and raise all this money for charity to help other people. I’d like to urge women to join me on the starting line at Race for Life because every participant and every penny counts.”

Emma Colbourne, Cancer Research UK’s Yorkshire Events Manager, said: “Life-saving research is being funded right now thanks to women running, jogging or walking at Race for Life.

“Our participants play a crucial role in helping to turn discoveries made in the lab into better treatments for patients like Jess and we rely on their incredible commitment to the cause.

“Race for Life isn’t about being the fittest, fastest or first over the finish line. We need women of all ages and abilities to sign up. It’s the taking part that counts whatever women raise. Just £10 could make a difference in the fight against cancer.”

Money raised through Race for Life helps to make long-term research and pioneering trials possible, leading to new tests, kinder treatments and cures, which could save the lives of more people across Yorkshire.

Emma continued: “Sadly, most of us know someone whose life has been touched by cancer. By taking part in Race for Life women could help more men, women and children to survive the disease.

“Our aim is that one day everyone will beat cancer. The more women who Race for Life – the sooner that day will come.”

Sign up for Race for Life now at raceforlife.org or call 0300 123 0770.

To sponsor Jess visit https://fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/team/jessicas-team-16