BRAVE cancer survivor Grace Newton tackled Race for Life Falkirk only weeks after breaking her arm in three places.
Seven-year-old Grace, of Grangemouth, endured major surgery to help heal the bone in her lower left arm after it snapped, weakened by chemotherapy treatment.
But Grace refused to let even that stop her.
Clutching on to a giant pink star-shaped balloon with the words ‘Amazing Grace’ on it, she stepped on stage as VIP to sound the airhorn and set off around 1,200 pink ladies on the 5K course at Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life in the picturesque grounds of Callendar House, Falkirk.
Grace was just five when diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma in February 2014 after doctors discovered a tumour in her right arm.
Her parents, Janet, 30, and Mark, 38, waited anxiously as Grace endured a 10 hour operation at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow to remove the tumour. Grace’s courage during almost a year of chemotherapy inspired her family and friends to fundraise tirelessly for Cancer Research UK.
Her mum Janet shared with the crowd just how far their daughter has come.
Janet said: “I’m so proud of my amazing Grace.
“Everyone who has followed her journey can see how far she’s come in the last year and how hard she’s battled to beat cancer. She still has to live with devastating and life changing side effects that her treatment has left her.
“The main tumour in Grace’s arm was completely removed and her response to chemotherapy was considered excellent. Grace has three small tumours remaining on her lungs but they’re considered dead and stable tumours.
“Doctors will keep a close eye on them for the next four years. Hopefully there will be no changes to them and Grace will go in to remission.”
She added: “My inspiration for everything in life is this incredible girl. The first time we took part in Race for Life Grace was only a few months in to her treatment and right in between cycles of chemotherapy.
“But we made the day and although I pushed her around the 5K course she proudly walked across the finish line. Every year since our team has grown bigger and stronger.
“The atmosphere is incredible and it’s a good feeling to know that you are trying to make a difference by helping fund vital research so one day everyone survives cancer.”
It was an emotional moment when Grace released five white doves on stage during a minute’s silence in honour of all Scots who have been through cancer.
The doves were supplied by Charlene McGuire of Falkirk who brings the birds every year to Race for Life Falkirk. First home in the Race for Life 5K was Eleanor Hanson, 16, of Wallace High School who completed the course in 19 minutes and 15 seconds.
And Heart Scotland presenter Gavin Wallace revealed for the first time that his own mum Deborah Wallace has recovered from breast cancer after being diagnosed just four days before Christmas last year.
Gavin said: “I got a phone call from my Mum and Dad who asked me to come round to the house.
“When I arrived they told me that my mum had breast cancer. It was the kind of Christmas present no one would ever want but my mum has been extremely inspirational. She told me she didn’t want any sympathy, she just wanted to get on with her life. That’s exactly what she’s done.
“She’s been through radiotherapy at the Beatson in Glasgow and she’s doing really well now. I’m so proud of my mum but I’ve seen first hand how cancer touches so many families.”
Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, in partnership with Tesco, is an inspiring women-only series of 5k, 10k, Pretty Muddy and marathon events which raises millions of pounds every year to help fund life-saving research.
Last year, women at Race for Life events across Scotland raised a fantastic £2.3 million.
Organisers are now urging women to return their sponsorship money to help pioneering research. Every hour, around three people are diagnosed with cancer in Scotland, and the number of people being diagnosed with cancer has now reached 30,200 cases each year.
Race for Life event manager for Falkirk, Angela Wilson said: “The support people across Falkirk and Grangemouth have shown is absolutely tremendous and we are thrilled so many women took part in Race for Life.
“We want to say a heart-felt thanks to everyone who took part or supported our participants, as well as the wonderful volunteers who helped to make it happen.
“Sadly, most of us know someone whose life has been touched by cancer. But thanks to the huge progress that has been made in the fight against the disease, more people in Scotland are surviving cancer than ever before.
“Our aim is that one day everyone will beat cancer. The more research we can fund, the sooner that day will come. Now the big day is over, we are asking our supporters to take one last step-by returning the money they have raised so that we can go on funding much needed research.”
Money raised through Race for Life allows Cancer Research UK’s doctors, nurses and scientists to advance research which is helping to save the lives of men, women and children across Scotland.
To enter Race for Life go to raceforlife.org or call 0300 123 0770.