Erin’s cancer battle inspires mum to join in Race for Life

FELIXSTOWE: Mum-of-three Kara Southall is today in training for a special fundraising run – inspired by her young daughter’s battle against cancer.

Two-year-old Erin was diagnosed with neuroblastoma last summer and since then has undergone gruelling chemotherapy and a major operation to remove a large tumour lodged between her lung and rib cage.

This year the toddler has endured 14 days of radiotherapy, and is now about to embark on a six-month course of retinoic acid treatment.

Her mum now wants to highlight the work of those who support cancer sufferers – and is preparing to join this year’s Tesco and Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life at Trinity Park, Ipswich, on June 19 when women will walk, jog or run 5k or 10k to raise money to help beat cancer.

She and her daughter Erin posed with a giant bunch of 75 pink silk flowers, to represent the 75 people diagnosed with cancer in the region every day, as dad Darren, 32, watched proudly.

Mr and Mrs Southall, of The Walk, Walton, Felixstowe, first realised something was wrong when Erin had a minor fall at home and a lump appeared in her chest.

“When the lump still hadn’t gone after a week we took her back to the doctor and asked for an X-ray, so he sent us to Felixstowe hospital,” said Mrs Southall.

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“That night the GP turned up at our door. He told us to sit down. I don’t remember much else, only the word ‘cancer’.”

Hospital tests diagnosed a neuroblastoma, a rare cancer that affects children, mostly under the age of five years, with only about 100 diagnosed each year in the UK.

“It was the hardest week of our lives, but the other parents on the ward were fantastic and really helped us through it,” said Mrs Southall, who also has sons Kieran, nine, and Kyle, seven.

“The lump went down after the biopsy and Erin had chemotherapy from June through to October.

“She had surgery in mid December to remove as much as possible of the tumour, and the surgeons said they got 95% of it.

“It’s only when it affects you that you realise the impact a cancer diagnosis has on your life.

“That’s why I want to do Race for Life. Erin will be coming with me in her pushchair and I’m hoping to persuade lots of friends to join me.”

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