Lesley is running for life

LESLEY Back has inoperable cancer - but she also has an indomitable spirit as she prepares to don her running shoes to help others fighting the disease.

LESLEY Back has inoperable cancer - but she also has an indomitable spirit as she prepares to don her running shoes to help others fighting the disease.

Diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago, Mrs Back, of Cavendish Road, Ipswich is gearing up to take part in this years 5KM Race for Life at the Suffolk Showground, raising money for Cancer Research UK.

Since her diagnosis in February 2002 she has transformed her life and to prevent the disease from spreading she has changed her diet and taken up running - a hobby she now hopes will help others fighting the condition.

She said: “When you are diagnosed so much is taken out of your control. I have had chemotherapy and radiotherapy and so much has been taken out of my hands.

“I wanted to do something for myself and to make myself as fit and healthy as I can to help fight it.

“When I was diagnosed I changed my diet and started running. I believe it keeps my heart and lungs strong and running helps keep your bones healthy and dense. Part of my game plan is not to let the cancer spread and if I can keep healthy then there is less chance of that happening.”

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Mother of two grown up children, Mrs Back was diagnosed with breast cancer following her first routine mammogram.

She underwent chemotherapy but a scan revealed the disease had already spread to her liver and a number of small tumours had formed on the organ.

Mrs Back, a human resources manager, added: “There are a lot of drugs out there that they can combat it with. I will just carry on and live a normal life. Unfortunately there is nothing they can do to get rid of it so I will live with it.

“It does get me down sometimes and of course there are days when I struggle. It is a day to day struggle.

“My attitude has always been to find the positive things and focus on them.”

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LESLEY Back is not only running the Race for Life as part of her own battle with cancer.

Just a few weeks ago she lost close friend Margot Beckett to the disease.

Margot, 55, was diagnosed shortly after Mrs Back and had an aggressive form of the disease.

The women met as they both battled the illness and became good friends.

Mrs Back added: “Originally she purely had breast cancer and it was a few months after surgery and chemotherapy that she started to cough and have attacks of breathlessness.

“It had already got to her lungs and bones and then it went to her brain and took her very, very quickly.”

Mrs Back entered the Race for Life just before her friend passed away and told Margot that she would be running.

She added: “We were in touch with each other constantly. When you have something like that you have a black humour which kicks in and we could understand how each other was feeling.

“If we had a bad day we could off load on each other and she was an enormous support. I miss her dreadfully.”

Mrs Back said she and her friend, who lived near Stowmarket, had both received excellent treatment at Ipswich Hospital.

She added: “We have one of the best oncology units in the country and the support and information given to you is brilliant.

“Every time I go they sit me down and talk about what is happening and how I am feeling.”

THERE are two Race for Life events in Ipswich this year.

The first race will take place at 11am on Sunday, June 18 at Chantry Park.

A second race will take place for the first time this year.

That event will be held at the Suffolk Showground on Wednesday, July 19 at 7.30pm.

The Chantry race is closed but there are still a few places left in the second race.

To take part visit www.raceforlife.org.

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