Cancer surviver Nichola Whymark from Martlesham completes 40 challenges before her 40th birthday
- 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.
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.
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.
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“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.
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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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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