Breast cancer survivor Dr Liz O'Riordan launches 5k Your Way: Move Against Cancer event in Bury St Edmunds
People in Bury St Edmunds who have or have had cancer are being encouraged to put on their trainers and walk, jog or run as part of a new scheme.
In a first for the town, a ‘5k Your Way: Move Against Cancer’ event will be launched on January 25 in a move to give cancer sufferers a way to get outside, keep fit and make friends.
The project is being led by breast surgeon Dr Liz O’Riordan, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 when she was 40, alongside the launch of her new charity CancerFit which aims to help cancer patients enjoy exercise.
“Exercise has really helped me throughout my cancer journey,” said Liz, who was given the all-clear in September 2018 after being told that her cancer had come back in her chest wall.
“I always wanted to stay fit and active and I didn’t want cancer to take everything from me. Doing park runs and keeping fit was my way of being Liz and not just a cancer patient.”
And Liz hopes that, through the 5k Your Way event, other cancer patients in Bury will have their eyes opened to the benefits of exercise before, during and after cancer treatment.
“When you have cancer and you’re going through chemotherapy, exercise is the last thing you want to do but it really is the best thing you can do,” she said.
“Not only does it lessen the side effects of the treatment but it helps with fatigue, improves bone health and reduces the risk of the cancer coming back. At a time when you feel depressed and anxious, it is also so important for your mental health and mindfulness.”
Liz has enlisted the help of fellow cancer patients Sarah Gooderham, Emma Boulton, Jill Mayhew and Stephen Williams who will help to run the event, which will be held on the last Saturday of every month, as ambassadors.
They will meet those taking part at the Grounds Café at 8.45am and will be on hand to chat and provide support.
“It’s all about knowing you’re not alone and that there are others like you who can help on both the good and bad days,” said Liz.
“It can be hard to talk to friends and family as they don’t always understand so to walk and talk with someone who is going through the same thing can be really nice.”
Sarah, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2018, added: "Exercise helped me even on my worst days and it has proven benefits to people who have or have had cancer.
"It's true that you always do feel better for it and I think this is a great opportunity for people struggling to get outside and move."
To register with both Park Run and 5k Your Way, visit 5kyourway.org/register
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