Joanna's race for life

TWO years ago Joanna Howard was hit with the bombshell diagnosis of breast cancer - but today she is preparing to race for life.As she trains for the five kilometre run she knows when she gets tired she will be able to think of so many reasons to keep on going.

TWO years ago Joanna Howard was hit with the bombshell diagnosis of breast cancer - but today she is preparing to race for life.

As she trains for the five kilometre run she knows when she gets tired she will be able to think of so many reasons to keep on going.

The brave mum-of-one was diagnosed in August 2005, but today she is determined to fight the disease, and will be running in this year's Race For Life to collect money to support Cancer Research UK's life-saving work.

Mrs Howard, 44, said: “When I found out I felt bowled over and so shocked.

“It came out of the blue, there was no history and the doctors said I was very unlucky to get breast cancer.

“The treatment was very hard and it has changed me.

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“My daughter was only two when I was diagnosed and I couldn't believe I was hit with an illness that could have killed me.

“It made me take each day as it comes. You must love life and take every chance given to you.

“Cancer never leaves your mind - it affects us all deeply. I plan carefully for the future because I don't know how long I've got.

“I know that it may kill me one day, but it isn't going to be today!”

Mrs Howard, who lives with her five-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Chloe, and husband John, in Meadowside, Wickham Market, had a lumpectomy and glands taken out of her arm pit as part of the treatment, and also suffered radiation burns from painful radiotherapy.

The cancer meant she was weaker than she used to be, but she worked extremely hard to make sure she could run the Race For Life 2006 and 2007, and again this year on July 9 at Trinity Park in Bucklesham.

She had originally taken part in the event in 1999 because her father had suffered prostate cancer. And after developing the disease herself she was even more sure she wanted to run.

Mrs Howard said: “I thought the event was fantastic and it was raising money for such a worthy cause.

“It feels much more personal, being able to take part in a race. You're physically doing something rather than just giving money in a box.

“I'm not a very good runner at all. The achievement at the end is great and I was so proud of what I'd done. It is very inspiring to see other people running.

“I'm looking forward to it and hopefully I'll feel fit enough.

“We need to inspire many other woman to do this. I know that Cancer Research UK did research into tamoxifen, and that is what is keeping me alive.”

To sponsor Joanna Howard visit www.raceforlifesponsorme.org/johoward1

Are you taking part in Race For Life? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

You can still sign up to take part in Race For Life, either in Chantry Park from 11am on Sunday, June 8, or at Trinity Park from 7.30pm on Wednesday, July 9.

Race For Life

Cancer Research UK's Race for Life involves running, jogging or walking a five kilometre course and raising sponsorship from friends and family for doing so

Race for Life began in 1994 to raise funds for the charity's work to help beat cancer

It is now the biggest women-only fundraising event in the UK

To date 3.4 million women have raised more than £200 million for Cancer Research UK

Last year, 665,000 women took part in 280 venues across the UK between May and July

SOURCE: Race For Life