Inspirational cancer survivor from Martlesham tackles marathon 11 months after treatment

Breast cancer survivor Nichola Whymark and brother Alastair Wright are running the London Marathon.

Breast cancer survivor Nichola Whymark and brother Alastair Wright are running the London Marathon. - Credit: Archant

A cancer survivor is taking on a marathon just 11 months after having a double mastectomy.

Breast cancer survivor Nichola Whymark and brother Alastair Wright are running the London Marathon.

Breast cancer survivor Nichola Whymark and brother Alastair Wright are running the London Marathon. - Credit: Archant

Nichola Whymark, of Coopers Road, Martlesham, was diagnosed with cancer in both her breasts in September 2013.

The 38-year-old was due to run in last year’s Brighton Marathon but had to cancel to undergo chemotherapy.

In May last year, Mrs Whymark had both lumps removed, but after she was told there were still cancer cells in her right breast.

She opted to have a double mastectomy, which involved reconstructive surgery where fat was moved from her stomach to her breasts - and a new belly button was created.

“The left side was out of choice because I had cancer there as well,” she said. “So I was just protecting my future and the doctors said that was a sensible choice.”

Three weeks after surgery Mrs Whymark, who is a local fundraising manager for Cancer Research UK, took part in the Race for Life.

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“I walked round with my family, we walked very slowly but I got round,” she said. “From there I didn’t run straight away by no means, I had to let things heal.”

For six weeks after the operation she had to wear a girdle and deal with a lot of pain, when she came out of hospital she said even walking was difficult.

“I started running very slowly,” she added. “I remember it as if it was yesterday, my husband came out on his bike and he cycled beside me on the first few runs while I built myself up.”

In November last year, Mrs Whymark took part in the Southwold 10k, and she said she was surprised with how physically and mentally strong she was.

The determined fundraiser will now tackle the Virgin Money London Marathon on April 26 with her younger brother, Alastair Wright.

Mr Wright said: “To see what Nic’s gone through as an experience is something you don’t want to witness, if I could have traded places with her I would have.

“I wanted to do the marathon to show my appreciation that she’s still with us. It means a lot to run with her because I love her dearly.

“Usually when I run I want to get my best time but this will be about running with my sister, the experience of running with her will be amazing and a bit emotional.”

The duo have set themselves the target of raising £4,000 for Cancer Research UK, and to complete the 26.2 mile challenge in under five hours.

Mrs Whymark has run two other marathons and if she meets her aim, it will make it her personal best time.

“I wanted to raise as much money for the charity as I could because I know it’s my job but I see it as personal now,” she said.

“When I went through all of this with my friends and family watching me, I wanted to focus on something good like the marathon because I thought it would get me better.”

Starting her role at the charity in April 2013, she said it had been her “saving grace” as she went through treatment, and it helped her stay strong.

“There was definitely the fear factor, most of the time I’m positive then I get that fear of things not working out,” she said. “Before the operation was scary, knowing what a big operation it was going to be, but you have to keep thinking, if children and elderly people can get through these things then you can.

“But it’s hard to think like that when you are lying on that bed, it was hard to stay strong.”

Mrs Whymark is now cancer-free but is still receiving regular treatment at hospital.

To support Nichola and Alastair, visit: www.virginmoneygiving.com/AliandNIcRunLondon.

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