A 50-year-old Kettering woman is urging people to take part in Race For Life after being diagnosed with one of the rarest cancers in the world.
Colleen McCallum thought she was suffering with stomach cramps but was left devastated and shocked when doctors told her she had cancer of the appendix.
Surgery followed during which doctors removed her appendix, which had grown to be three times in size.
She said: “I went into hospital to have my appendix removed only to be told later that surgeons had discovered I had a very rare cancer.
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"Most people are not diagnosed with this kind of cancer until it’s too late and has spread. The doctors told me only four in a million people get cancer of the appendix so I suppose I’m the most luckiest, unluckiest person alive.”
Colleen had three rounds of surgery and 12 cycles of chemotherapy before she was given the all clear in 2018.
“My cancer spread to my lymph nodes but most of it was still in my appendix so it was caught relatively early and that gave me the best chance.
"I’m living a happy and healthy life and that is down to research, early detection and better treatments.”
Now in remission, Colleen is taking part in Northampton's Race for Life to help raise awareness and vital funds for research.
Colleen, mum to daughter Kadi, 30, said: “I’m so grateful for the treatment that helped save my life. Everything I’ve been through means I understand all too clearly why Cancer Research UK’s work is so important.
"It’s thanks to research that I can enjoy more time with my family and all the people I love.
“Race for Life this autumn feels like a really positive way to take action, to play my part and make a difference to the lives of people with cancer.”
Race For Life will take place on Saturday 21, August 2021 at Abington Park.
Patrick Keely, Cancer Research UK’s spokesperson for East Midlands, said: “We are grateful to Colleen for her support. Race for Life offers the perfect opportunity for people across the region to run, walk or jog and raise money for life-saving research. We know that 2020 was a year like no other and we had to overcome many challenges thrown our way during the global pandemic.
"But this past year proves, more than any other, the value of investing in science and medical research and what can be achieved by working together. Just like science is our route out of the pandemic, science is our route to beating cancer. We are absolutely determined to continue to create better cancer treatments for tomorrow.
“All 400 mass participation Race for Life events across the UK were cancelled last year to protect the country’s health during the COVID-19 pandemic. So this year, more than ever, we need people to enter the Race for Life- for the people we love, for the people we’ve lost and for the one in two of us who will get cancer.”
Enter now at raceforlife.org or call 0300 123 0770.