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26th Jun, 2022

Why Gill is set to run again after she and husband battled cancer

Rob George 25th Apr, 2022

A WORCESTER cancer survivor who completed last year’s Race for Life only five weeks after a mastectomy will take to the stage to set the runners off at this year’s event.

Gill Alcorn, 72, and her team of 28 friends raised a massive £10,000 for Cancer Research UK at the 5k event at Worcester Racecourse last year.

Cheering them on was Gill’s husband Stewart, a prostate cancer patient who was in hospital fighting for his life when Gill was diagnosed with breast cancer.

The couple, who are retired hoteliers, believe that the shock of Gill’s diagnosis boosted Stewart’s will to live and gave him a reason to survive.

Both Gill, who lost her mum to breast cancer, and Stewart, who lost his father to prostate cancer, know exactly how vital it is to raise funds for life-saving research.

They have seen first-hand how treatments and survival rates have improved since their parents’ day. That’s why the couple are urging everyone who can to join Gill and friends at Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life 3k, 5k or 10k at Worcester Racecourse on Sunday, July 10.

Stewart was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2002 and had been living with the disease for many years before things became critical in 2021, during the pandemic.

“Stewart had become increasingly poorly and less mobile over the years and he ended up having an emergency stoma,” Gill said.

“He was in such a bad state they really didn’t know if he would make it through the surgery. We had to say our goodbyes over the phone because it was an emergency and there wasn’t time to see him.

“It was while Stewart was in hospital for six weeks that I found a lump in my breast. It was like a little pea that I would find, then it would disappear for a while.

“I didn’t mention it to Stewart because he had enough on his plate, but my friend persuaded me to tell him.”

Stewart organised and paid for Gill and 28 of her friends to take part in Worcester Race for Life. Unable to take part himself, he was there to cheer them on and had organised a big barbecue and reception back home for after the event.

Even though the event was only five weeks after Gill’s mastectomy, she managed to complete the full 5k with the support of her friends.

“It was an amazing thing to do and I’ll never forget it,” she said. “We started the day on about £2,000 and by the end of the day our team had raised over £10,000. It was incredible.

“It will be a special moment this July when I stand on that stage to sound the starting horn for Worcester Race for Life. I was lucky, because my cancer hadn’t spread, and the surgeons removed it all – but I have other friends who have been diagnosed since then.

Visit raceforlife.org for more.

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