A cancer survivor who is celebrating five years in remission has pledged to fight dirty to do her part to conquer the disease.
Carmela Cook is helping to launch Cancer Research UK’s new Race for Life Pretty Muddy event, which takes place for the first time at Phasels Wood in Rucklers Lane on Saturday, May 16.
The mum-of-one is encouraging other ladies to sign up to the women only, non-competitive 5k obstacle course - with added mud.
Carmela, 41, said: “I can’t wait to take part in Pretty Muddy and get down and dirty in the fight against cancer. I’m ready to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with women across the region who all want to show cancer who’s boss.”
She was diagnosed with the extremely rare stage one hypoglycaemic small cell cancer of the ovary in January 2009. Fortunately she responded well to treatment at Mount Vernon Hospital, which included a hysterectomy, six months of chemotherapy and three months of radiotherapy.
“It still feels very raw. It’s something you never think will happen to you. Your world comes crashing down and you think of your husband and children. Rocco, now 13, was only seven at the time and it was hard to have to explain to him,” said Carmela, of Bridge Road, Kings Langley.
“I just feel so lucky and grateful that I’m still here five years down the line. I can’t put into words how happy I feel to see my husband and son every day. It’s just the simple things that matter so much like being able to have breakfast together every morning.
“Life after cancer is hard and it’s something you never really get over but it has made me and my family even stronger then before and we all appreciate each day good or bad. I am truly grateful to all those that helped and supported us through such a difficult time.
“When I was told I had cancer, my whole world was turned upside down. But thanks to research, I’m now cancer free. My heart goes out to those families who have lost loved ones to cancer and it is so important not to give up the fight. I’m determined to help others by raising money so Cancer Research UK can help even more people survive. That’s why I’m urging the brave ladies of Hertfordshire to take part in Race for Life and help beat cancer sooner.”
She will be joined by pal Samantha Jackson, of Abbots Langley, for the obstacle challenge, being held just off the A41, and her daughters Jade and Evie. Together they will form the Middy Divas team.
I just feel so lucky and grateful that I’m still here five years down the line. I can’t put into words how happy I feel to see my husband and son every day.Carmela Cook