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The Great Manchester Half Marathon

Lauren Zawadzki shares,

On the 21st May, I’m running The Great Manchester Half Marathon. The last time I entered a Half Marathon was 20 years ago and I’ll be honest I was pretty appalling at it but I’ve been following a plan and I think I can still do it!

While I am doing this for my own personal challenge it feels only appropriate to support a charitable fund and raise some money and awareness for a cause close to my heart.

In 2021 I followed the heart-breaking journey of Hatti Gayner, a fellow LIPA graduate who lost her incredibly young life at just 29 to Secondary Breast Cancer.

Since then, I’ve followed a series of inspirational forces, the remarkable Lancastrian Kate Rackham along with Lizzie England, Brogan Williams and Lisa Fleming – all once strangers to each other but now joined together through their own diagnosis with incurable secondary breast cancer.

I am in awe of them on a daily basis and have chosen this Foundation as my worthy cause, supporting them in their plight to make a difference to the lives of those who are also affected by this disease.

In September 2021, 20 women joined together in solidarity to create an awareness campaign. Secondary breast cancer is often described as the ‘forgotten form’ of breast cancer, even though it is estimated in a recent audit that over 57,000 people are living with metastatic (secondary) breast cancer in the UK.

At the heart of their campaign was a powerful, emotive image. It portrayed the story of the 20 women, hands bound, hanging their gloves in a fight that they physically cannot win yet there was a shared desire to use their voices collectively to ‘fight’ for a voice for the secondary breast cancer community.

The stark reality of the disease is highlighted by the tragic passing of five of the women since the original image was shot. In just 2 years 5 of the 20 young women are no longer with us. The launch of the Foundation will honour the lives of Emily Roberts (30), Suzanne Williamson (41), Cathy Snape (56), Vicky Keating (32) and Sally Nyland (46).

The Foundation aims to provide friendship, family and financial support for those impacted by secondary breast cancer.

With the rising costs as a result of the UK’s cost of living crisis, a recent study commissioned by Macmillan Cancer Support reported that nearly a quarter (24%) of people with cancer have had to cut costs either by buying less food or making fewer meals, including 26% of those currently having treatment.

It is hoped that the new Foundation will not only continue the women’s quest to raise awareness but also help in some way to ease the financial pressure felt by those living with secondary breast cancer in the UK as they continue to Fight to be Heard.