A Preston mum is celebrating being given the all-clear by doctors by taking part in Race for Life to raise funds for Cancer Research UK.
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Ruth Naylor, 33, who grew up in Fulwood, feared for her life after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of blood cancer – Hodgkin Lymphoma last August – 12 years after losing her mum to liver cancer.
But after months of gruelling treatment – which the mum-of-two documented on Instagram attracting thousands of followers – she has now been given the all-clear by doctors at The Christie Hospital in Manchester.
She is now determined to help bring forward the day when all cancers are cured and is urging women in Preston to sign up for Race for Life at Moor Park on Sunday 17 June.
Ruth, who attended Kirkham Grammar School, and now lives in Hale, Cheshire, will be taking part and starting the 10k Race for Life at Tatton Park in Cheshire on Sunday June 24.
I never allowed myself to imagine this could happen at this point so when my consultant opened the conversation with the words “this is the best part of my job,” I couldn’t believe him. It was completely magical.Ruth Naylor
The former corporate banker, who now works in marketing, was treated with 12 rounds of “brutal” chemotherapy as well as steroids.
She said: “It was such a shock to hear the words that I was all clear. I never allowed myself to imagine this could happen at this point so when my consultant opened the conversation with the words “this is the best part of my job,” I couldn’t believe him. It was completely magical.
“What has got me through the last 10 months has been being open about my disease, talking honesty to my friends, family and, thorough social media, complete strangers. I’ve posted regular updates on Instagram and written about my experiences, good and pretty bad along the way.
“The response has been mind-blowing. Knowing I’m helping others has given me the boost to fight hard, through some really, dark days. My fight hasn’t just been about me but about the thousands of people who have been following me and I was absolutely determined to give them some good news and give hope to many others that this disease can be beaten.
“Chemotherapy for me was brutal. It took me away from my home, my children and my life for months on end. I’ve had four significant scans and biopsies along the way and the anxiety related to waiting for results is pretty crippling. I lost weight due to being unable to combat the sickness side-effects from chemo. I lost my hair, eyebrows and eyelashes about six weeks into treatment so have found this very difficult to deal with.
“Building my confidence to get out and about whilst going through significant physical changes has been a challenge but I’ve pushed myself every step of the way to continue living my life as best as I can.
“Exercise has always been a big part of my life and I continued to exercise throughout my treatment. This brought me structure, a goal and my overall wellness has been maintained.
“This process and facing your own mortality is a real mental challenge, regular exercise has really helped my positivity and outlook. I’m now looking forward to running Race for Life 10k and am determined to help others by raising money so Cancer Research UK can ensure even more people survive.”
Ruth has now become a board member of the newly-created Manchester Beats Cancer - a North West based committee aimed at awareness and fund raising for Cancer Research UK initiatives.
She said: “I feel I’ve been gifted a life back. My life has been on hold to say the least for a long time. I’ve been unable to make plans and discuss the future but all these opportunities are now in my hands. I feel like I can achieve anything, like there’s more fun to be had, adventures to go on and places to see.”