A woman who has overcome throat, breast, lung and brain cancer is taking on a new challenge as she prepares to take part in a 10k run to raise money for Yorkshire Cancer Research.
Siobhan Smith says running has become an essential part of her recovery from a fourth bout of cancer, as she is determined to regain her health, fitness and independence.
Siobhan, aged 38, from Penistone, said: “Learning to run has been life-changing for me. Exercise has helped me cope mentally, and I’ve met some lovely people.”
She was first diagnosed with throat cancer in her early 20s.
“I was shocked and devastated,” she said. “I had no idea it might be cancer. I had to take a pill every day that provided a steady, continuous dose of chemotherapy into my body. I suffered side-effects from the chemo, and had to take anti-inflammatories and steroids. The drugs were constantly changed and I was in and out of hospital regularly.”
Eventually hospital visits became less frequent but eight years later, she discovered she had cancer for a second time and had three surgeries to remove a lump in her breast.
Following her diagnosis, doctors decided Siobhan should have regular MRI scans to monitor her throat, breasts and heart and during one cancerous cells were discovered in her lung.
Within two weeks, she’d had keyhole surgery to remove a quarter of her lung.
“I had to learn to breathe again. I couldn’t even make a cup of tea or get in the bath on my own,” she said.
Her brain tumour was detected in October last year.
She said: “When I was told I had cancer for a fourth time, I felt angry, upset and fed up.
“But I knew that after everything else I’d been through, I was strong enough to handle this too.”
Doctors removed the tumour and she was not put under general anaesthetic for the surgery – meaning she was awake for the whole procedure.
But Siobhan wanted to turn her experience into a positive one and after linking up with personal trainer Katie Ford, she decided to aim for the Leeds Abbey Dash on November 5, hoping to raise money for Yorkshire Cancer Research.
She has distributed collection boxes throughout the shopping centre at Foxhill, Stocksbridge, where she works, and Sandersons Boutique has taken on the charity as its official partner.
Siobhan was also inspired by the loss of her best friend Catherine Hallett, 35, to leukaemia two years ago.
She said: “She was diagnosed and died within a year, leaving behind two young children. I was devastated.”
n To sponsor Siobhan, visit www.ycr.org.uk/fromcancerto10K