Cancer surviver Nichola Whymark from Martlesham completes 40 challenges before her 40th birthday

Nichola Whymark completing her last challenge of plastering of a wall. Picture: Nigel Brown

Nichola Whymark completing her last challenge of plastering of a wall. Picture: Nigel Brown - Credit: Archant

When you are given a second chance in life, grab it with both hands. It may sound like an old cliché, but it perfectly sums up the inspiring spirit of Suffolk breast cancer survivor, Nichola Whymark.

Nichola Whymark with friends and family during a celebratory run after completing her 40 challenges.

Nichola Whymark with friends and family during a celebratory run after completing her 40 challenges. Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

The fitness fanatic has just completed a quest of epic measures, raising thousands of pounds for vital charities in the process.

Now Mrs Whymark, of Martlesham, wants to take that energy and use it to promote the importance of self-examination and knowing the warning signs in order to catch problems early.

Nichola Whymark learning to ski. Picture: Nichola Whymark

Nichola Whymark learning to ski. Picture: Nichola Whymark - Credit: Nichola Whymark

She said: “I want to raise awareness for early diagnosis and being vigilant for your body.

“The amount of women missing their screenings for the smear test, it’s ridiculous. It’s not worth the risk.

Nichola Whymark learning to scuba dive. Picture: Nichola Whymark

Nichola Whymark learning to scuba dive. Picture: Nichola Whymark - Credit: Nichola Whymark

“If you notice a change in your body, keep going back to the GP.

“The cancer diagnosis hit me like a thunderbolt but I did something about it to turn it into a positive.

Nichola Whymark learning circus skills. Picture: Nichola Whymark

Nichola Whymark learning circus skills. Picture: Nichola Whymark - Credit: Nichola Whymark

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“I’m still alive, so I’m not going to sit around thinking about what could have happened.”

Mrs Whymark was diagnosed with cancer in both her breasts in 2013 after she went to the doctors having felt a lump.

Nichola Whymark completing her last challenge of plastering of a wall, alongside her dad, Terry and

Nichola Whymark completing her last challenge of plastering of a wall, alongside her dad, Terry and brother, Craig. Picture: Nigel Brown - Credit: Archant

In 2014 she underwent a double mastectomy and in July 2015 she finished cancer treatment. She is now in remission.

When asked how the illness has affected her outlook, Mrs Whymark said: “I’m definitely more aware of how precious everything is in life, and the small things don’t get to me as much as they used to. I think I’m more adventurous. I was always confident I’m now open to trying new things without even thinking about it.”

Nichola Whymark painting a canvas. Picture: Nichola Whymark

Nichola Whymark painting a canvas. Picture: Nichola Whymark - Credit: Nichola Whymark

On February 22 Mrs Whymark celebrated her 40th birthday.

In the 18 months leading up to this milestone, Mrs Whymark took on 40 different challenges, from climbing a mountain, to dancing with someone famous.

Nichola Whymark after the Dublin Marathon. Picture: Nichola Whymark

Nichola Whymark after the Dublin Marathon. Picture: Nichola Whymark - Credit: Nichola Whymark

The target was to raise £4,400 to be split between Cancer Research UK and The Woolverstone Macmillan Centre at Ipswich Hospital, where Mrs Whymark was treated for breast cancer.

Thanks to people’s generosity and kindness, Mrs Whymark managed to collect more than £6,000 in donations.

Nichola Whymark at the Christmas Day Dip 2016. Picture: Nichola Whymark

Nichola Whymark at the Christmas Day Dip 2016. Picture: Nichola Whymark - Credit: Nichola Whymark

Reflecting on her achievement, Mrs Whymark said: “It’s been a project to keep me focused on all the positive things.

“It’s taken over my entire life, but in a good way, and what a brilliant way to celebrate my 40th birthday. I won’t forget it in a hurry.”

Nichola Whymark with friends and family during a celebratory run after completing her 40 challenges.

Nichola Whymark with friends and family during a celebratory run after completing her 40 challenges. Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

Mrs Whymark gave thanks to everyone who had supported her, especially husband Richard, mum Jill, dad Terry and brothers Alec, Craig and Alastair.

Here is a full list of the 40 trials Mrs Whymark has accomplished

1. Dance with someone famous

2. Complete a walking route over 40 miles

3. Ask 40 businesses to make a donation

4. Say ‘I Love You’ in 40 different languages

5. Climb a mountain

6. Taste 40 different gins

7. Complete a muddy challenge

8. Learn to ski

9. Complete a half marathon

10. Cycle more than 40 miles

11. 40 sit ups every day for 40 days

12. Complete a Boxing Day welly walk with family

13. 40 day plank challenge

14. Learn to plaster a wall

15. 40 days without alcohol

16. Get an article published in a magazine

17. Enter a team into Relay for Life

18. Complete a triathlon

19. Watch 40 live acts

20. Complete the longest zip wire in the UK

21. Learn how to scuba dive

22. Go for a month without crisps, chocolate, biscuits, cake, cheese and wine

23. Sing with a choir

24. Support someone else on their challenge

25. Visit 40 London landmarks in one day

26. Make 40 cakes for family and friends

27. Complete the Brighton Marathon

28. Play 18 holes of golf

29. Complete 40 hours of voluntary work

30. Wear 40 shades of pink for Breast Cancer Awareness

31. Paint a canvas

32. Complete an overseas event

33. Complete the North Sea dip on Christmas Day

34. Complete the Ipswich Race For Life and Pretty Muddy events

35. Learn how to windsurf

36. Learn circus skills

37. Have a photo sitting in 40 different sports cars

38. Take part in a dog walk with at least 40 dogs

39. Complete 40 miles on a cross trainer with family and friends

40. Take part in a flashmob

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