There’s no stopping breast cancer patient Emily Stanton who was so full of determination to run the Belfast marathon for Cancer Focus Northern Ireland that she trained by jogging to hospital for her radiotherapy sessions.
Emily and her relay team raised an amazing £3,031 with help from Greenwood Primary School in Belfast by taking part in the marathon in May.
The inspirational mum from Ballyhackamore started running after she was diagnosed last year – turning a negative into a positive by running the eight miles to and from her home and Belfast City Hospital.
“Running to my treatment was just one way I fitted my training into a busy day,” said Emily Stanton, who has two boys Liam (10) and Rhys (7), and who is also finishing a PHD in peace studies.
Following surgery in June last year, Emily went through five months of chemotherapy before radiotherapy treatment, which finished in January.
“I ran the Baltimore marathon 10 years ago and when I found out I had cancer I thought I’d set myself a personal goal to run the Belfast marathon within a year to give me an incentive to get fit again and help me regain my confidence.
“I hadn’t run for many years but I thought the exercise could really help my energy levels as fatigue is a common side effect of cancer treatment. I found walking and running to my appointments very therapeutic – calming and exhilarating all in one,” she said.
“Running puts my head in a good place. I think it also sets a good example to my boys, showing them that mummy is healthy – she’s ok.”
Emily added: “My husband Hedley has been an amazing source of support. Among other things he would get the children ready for school so I could set off early for my jog.
“I also got tremendous support from Cancer Focus NI, so was thrilled to be able to raise funds and give something back to them.
“Their Family Support Service has given Hedley and I the courage to talk openly about cancer with the children and they gave us practical and emotional support and guidance. I’m so appreciative of all the free help that they provide.
“Cancer Focus NI has a wide range of other services for patients and their families and I hope to join the Sing for Life choir and their breast cancer support group.
“While my prognosis is good, I’m a realist. I’m aware that a reoccurrence is a possibility but I take comfort knowing that I can use these services at any time – now and in the future if I need them.”
Emily is also grateful to her wonderful circle of friends for all their help providing meals and playdates for her children.
“I’m a lucky lady to have such amazing people around me. I truly couldn’t have done any of this without the support of my husband and friends.”