How walking helped one woman in her breast cancer recovery
Walking her dog played a vital role in how an Essex teacher recovered from breast cancer surgery.
Julie Raz, from Wickham St Paul, would go on long walks around Pebmarsh on the Suffolk/Essex border with her Jack Russell, Buster.
The 53-year-old was encouraged to get out and get walking by her sister, Cathy Pawsey-Ling, to help her stay positive and boost her energy levels.
Now, cancer survivor Julie is calling on dog walkers across Suffolk and Essex to join her in supporting Cancer Research UK’s Walk All Over Cancer campaign by getting sponsored to walk 10,000 steps every day in March.
She said: “Cathy wanted to make sure I kept active and encouraged me throughout my treatment. I’d go to Cathy’s house in Pebmarsh and we’d walk our dogs.
“Being outside in the fresh air helped clear my mind and I’m convinced staying active has played an important part in both my physical and mental health.” Sitting in a staff meeting 10 years ago, Julie felt a lump in her armpit.
“I kept looking down at a bruise on my arm that had been there for months and wondering why it hadn’t gone,” she added.
“The only reason I could think why the bruise wasn’t clearing quickly was because of my lymph nodes.
“So I felt under my left arm and felt a large lump, the size of a walnut.
Following tests at Colchester General Hospital, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent a mastectomy in May 2008, followed by chemotherapy as the cancer had spread to most of her lymph nodes.
She said: “There were days when I couldn’t drag myself up to say good night to my three boys – Josh, Ben and Isaac.
“I had to listen to my body.
“But when I could, I walked a lot and started going to the gym.
“I overhauled my diet and ate more fruit and veg – and bought organic milk. I figured that being healthy might tip the scales in my favour.
“It was my way of getting my life back a bit and taking control.”
Last year, to celebrate 10 years of being cancer free, Julie ran her first half marathon.
As well as raising funds for vital research, taking part in Walk All Over Cancer can help with maintaining a healthy weight which can have an impact on the risk of 13 different types of cancer.
Danielle Glavin, Cancer Research UK’s spokeswoman for the East, said: “Hearing the positive impact that walking and exercise has had on Julie’s life is really heart-warming.
“By sharing her story and encouraging others to step up to walk 10,000 steps a day during March, Julie will also be helping us to raise vital money for our life saving research.
“We’d love to see lots of people sign up now and get ready to Walk All Over Cancer in March.
“Participants can take part on their own or with friends, family and colleagues.”
To sign up now, visit the website.