Race for Life: Lynn’s lust for life is inspiration for others

THIS year’s Race for Life campaign in the Capital has been launched by a breast cancer survivor who completed last year’s course just days after finishing her treatment.

Lynn Laing, 51, had to undergo a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy after a tumour was found in her right breast in January 2009.

Despite being left exhausted by the treatment, she overcame the odds to complete the five kilometres course in Holyrood Park last year with a group of friends.

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This year, she is to tackle 10 kilometres, and hopes more friends will join her.

She has also revealed that it wasn’t just the Race for Life that inspired her to leave her sick bed – she is also a huge fan of Peter Andre and has gone to great lengths to see him, despite her illness.

Having already seen Andre perform around 20 times, she was determined to make it to a gig at the Picture House just a week after her mastectomy, and got her tickets changed to allow her into the disabled section as she was too weak to stand.

During her chemo she saw him at a book signing at Ocean Terminal. Ms Laing recalled: “I was getting the chemo the day before, and the security guard saw me in the queue and said ‘Are you OK?’ and I said ‘I’m going to collapse,’ so I got taken to the front of the queue.

“It gave me strength, really. It kept me up through it.”

Her diagnosis came after she had spent a year receiving treatment for cysts in her left breast. She then found a lump in her right breast which didn’t go away.

She insisted on a mammogram, which revealed a tumour – with the cancer spreading to her lymph glands.

She said: “They didn’t delay – within two weeks I was operated on and they took the right breast off – it wasn’t much of a decision really. And they took 17 lymph nodes off.”

After her treatment, Ms Laing also took a course of the drug herceptin, used to treat some forms of breast cancer after chemotherapy. Scientists from Cancer Research UK, which organises and benefits from the Race for Life, were among those involved in the development of herceptin.

“I had a six-week break and then got chemo for a few months and then radiotherapy for about five weeks,” she said. “The chemo finished and I got herceptin, and finished the last dose three days before the walk last year. I got terrible insomnia with it, I just couldn’t sleep and seemed to be awake 24 hours a day.

“I’d signed up for the walk on the basis I thought I was going to be OK but when it got nearer the end of the herceptin I felt awful, and couple of days before I said ‘I’m not going to make it’. It was a struggle, but my team got me round. I had to stop for a bit in the middle, but I made it.”

She urged as many people as possible to take up the challenge of this year’s Race for Life: “I think really it’s a fantastic cause and if it was not for them I wouldn’t be here doing the walk – them and the fantastic Western General. The more people who do it the better for future people who get cancer.”

The Race for Life 5K will be held at Hopetoun House, South Queensferry, on May 6, and in Holyrood Park on June 17 with both 5k and 10k routes. See www.raceforlife.org or call 0871 641 1111.