This year’s Cancer Research UK Relay For Life takes place at Bladnoch Park this weekend, July 1/2, to raise money to fight cancer.
The walk is traditionally led by those in the district who have survived cancer, including Kim Crosbie from Kirkinner.
If you are planning to go to the Relay for Life, or even if you are out of theregion and want to donate to the charity, take a moment Kim’s inspiring story of her battle with and victory over breast cancer.
Kim recalls: “Was 2013 the worst year or best year for me? The journey began in January when preparing for a family holiday and finding a (not insubstantial) lump while in the shower the night before departure. So many thoughts raced through my head: OMG where did that come from; should I not go on holiday and get myself to the Dr; and should I tell anyone? I decided to say nothing, go on holiday and deal with it when we got home.
“After a few days on holiday I messaged my husband Calum, and asked him to make an appointment at the doctors as I had a bit of holiday tummy. I bit the bullet and told my parents that I had found a lump – I needed to tell someone. At the end of the first week I was planning to tell my sister and cousin who had noticed that I wasn’t quite myself. Then, on the night I was going to tell them, my sister got engaged and my cousin got news that her cousin had passed away - he had been fighting cancer. With the mix of excitement and devastation, I just couldn’t tell them. The second week flew past, it was time for me to head home whilst my Dad flew off for work in Dubai.
“Carrying on as if everything was normal and choosing not to worry anyone else, I went to the doctor. He sent me for a mammogram, then on to have a biopsy and an ultra sound. The look on their faces said it all and they quickly confirmed that it was breast cancer and that it had spread to the lymph nodes. I was going to have to get my breast removed, have chemo and radiotherapy. I was stunned – how do I tell Calum and my three grown up kids? This upset me more than being told I had cancer. I went back to work and sent them all a text message inviting them for tea.
“There was no easy way to break it to them, so I sat them down, told them where I had been and that the doctors had confirmed I had cancer. They sat there in shock whilst my fight-or-flight mode took over and I told them they had 24 hours to deal with it, then we move on and beat this - nobody got better crying about it.
“A week later I had more tests to make sure I was fit for surgery and treatment, and had my operation the following week. I was scared and relieved all at the same time. Six weeks later I returned for the results - they had found three cancerous lumps and all my lymph nodes had been infected so I’d had full clearance. Treatment would be eight rounds of chemo instead of six, and five weeks of radiotherapy instead of four. I didn’t care as long as I got better and I was in no doubt I would with my family and friends there supporting me on every step of my journey.
“I had my first chemo and my sister shaved my head in preparation for my hair falling out. I had a few different wigs and loads of different hats at the ready.
“Just as I was about to go for second round of chemo, my Dad arrived home from Dubai with the news that he too had been diagnosed with cancer. I felt like someone had slapped me in the face - had we not been through enough? He came with me for my chemo and then two days later I was visiting him in hospital after his surgery for bowel cancer. It was a bigger operation than first thought as the cancer had also spread to the spleen and pancreas. He was in hospital for three weeks and came home on the same day I had my third round of chemo.
“Round four fell in the same week as the 2013 Cancer Research UK Relay For Life and despite the treatment, I was relieved to be well enough to take part with my family and friends – and my Dad. It was so emotional walking the survivors lap with my Dad who had fought hard to be there. I was so proud.
“Rounds five and seven of chemo had to be timed right as my sons Rory and Steven were both getting married and I didn’t want to be ill for their weddings – amid all of this, I wanted nothing more than to celebrate with my family. My Dad’s cancer specialist came to us at the chemo department during round six, as we both had appointments at the same time – they joked at the hospital that we were like a double act! And before I knew it, I’d had my last chemo and was celebrating with a cocktail on the way home. It was finished.
“Though not quite. After a few weeks off, I went to Edinburgh for five weeks of radiotherapy. It was an unexpectedly happy time as I found out I was going to be a Nana, my niece got married, and my Dad got the news that they had got all the cancer so he wouldn’t need chemo. Then, to top it off, I was told that I had responded well to my treatment too. There’s no question that it was a bad year, but it was also a truly amazing year that made us all realise that life is short, so live it and don’t take anything for granted and be thankful for your family and friends. In the face of cancer, I saw my two sons get married, held my first grandchild and found out I had another on the way. My sister announced she was pregnant, my niece got married and my daughter Tammy got engaged. The good definitely outweighed the bad.
“As we approach the 2017 Relay For Life at Bladnoch Park on 1-2 July, I am proud to say that I’ll be walking the survivors lap again with my Dad by my side, surrounded by family and friends. My oldest son Steven has challenged himself to walk the full 24 hours as part of his training for a double Ironman in September, which will see my sister and niece support him during the marathon section. If you’re a survivor or caregiver, come and join us as on of Relay For Life’s special guests of honour. Bring your family and friends to celebrate life, create a world with more birthdays and make new memories beyond your cancer journey. The survivors lap takes place at 11am on Saturday 1 July with a celebratory reception afterwards while the teams take to the track, entertainment to the stage and fundraising begins around the park.”
For more information visit www.cruk.org/relay or contact event chair, Anne Barclay on 07834693420.