A Scottish mum who has survived cervical cancer and has a heart condition has completed a half marathon and raised an incredible £2000 for Cancer Research UK.
Gillian Salter crossed the finish line at the Scottish Half Marathon in Edinburgh in an impressive two hours and 33 minutes.
I wanted to be around for my daughter and that was the very thought that kept me strong throughout the whole diagnosis, and still does to this date.Gillian Salter
Now, the jubilant 36-year-old has issued a heartfelt thank you to all those who helped her raise the money.
A passionate supporter of Cancer Research UK, Gillian was diagnosed with cervical cancer at the age of 27, two years after her daughter Rebecca was born.
Gillian, a practice manager at Auchenblae Surgery, said: “Since my diagnosis, I have been empowered to fundraise for Cancer Research UK.
“So far I have completed the Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge, sky dived and done many 5k and 10k challenges in my preparation for the Scottish Half Marathon.
“My training has been tough and earlier this year I was diagnosed with a coronary artery spasm. Although this can happen very sporadically and without reason, the cold and exercise can play havoc with it. So I always run with a spray medication, in case the spasm develops into something more serious.
“Completing a half marathon was tough. The sixth and eleventh mile was mentally the hardest but spectators and co-runners throughout the race were great in rallying me on. Even though I was running on my own, everyone was very team spirited and I met some fabulous people along the way.”
Gillian was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2007 after she noticed abnormal bleeding between periods.
She said: “As my daughter Rebecca had been born just two years before, I just thought it was my body getting over pregnancy and labour. So when I went to see the gynaecologist and told it was cancer I was completely stunned.
“My gynaecologist and I discussed the possible treatments and I was informed that a radical hysterectomy would give me the best chances of survival.
“At the time, I had a beautiful little girl and although I would have loved more children, it was a sacrifice I was prepared to make and surgery was the way.
“Radiotherapy would have given me the chance of more children but a less chance of success than surgery. So it was an easy decision to make in the end.
“I wanted to be around for my daughter and that was the very thought that kept me strong throughout the whole diagnosis, and still does to this date.
“Don’t get me wrong I had lots of low days, but with the support of my family especially my dear dad and mum and close friends, my mind was always quickly reverted back to positivity. I am so lucky to be loved in such a way.”
Gillian has been absolutely stunned at the support she has had from those in the community who helped her exceed her fundraising expectations.
She said: “This was my first half marathon and I am just so overwhelmed by the amount raised. The support from family, friends and patients at Auchenblae Surgery has been beyond belief and I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you who has taken the time to sponsor me. And a special thanks to my colleagues and friends Carole Mcrae and Veronica Anderson who have been fantastic in fundraising within the surgery.”
Gillian has now donated the money raised to Cancer Research UK, a charity which invests more than £31million each year on life saving science in Scotland.
Cancer Research UK local fundraising manager Fiona Harvey said: “We are so grateful to Gillian and her local community for raising such a phenomenal amount.
“It’s thanks to communities uniting together in this way that Cancer Research UK scientists are able to work on better and kinder treatments and we are moving forward to beat cancer sooner.”