A weight loss coach who found out she was cancer-free just two months ago wants others to join her at the Crazy Hats walk.
Sarah Barnes will be taking part in the fundraiser by the Wellingborough based breast cancer charity at Wicksteed Park on March 18.
And she wanted to share her story to highlight the work of the charity which raises cash for breast cancer care at both Kettering and Northampton general hospitals.
At 50, Sarah had already been a Weight Watchers coach for 14 years, and she was asked to attend her first breast screening to check for breast cancer in 2013.
During those 14 years as a weight loss coach in Northampton, Sarah was already a big supporter of Crazy Hats.
She said: “As a Weight Watchers coach, it was my chosen charity.
“I encouraged my members to increase their fitness by joining me on the Crazy Hats charity walks.
“So not only did my members lose extra weight, they also helped me to support this worthwhile cause.
“I also believed in challenging my fears so when the opportunity came in 2011 to raise money by jumping out of a plane, I ignored my nerves and went for it.”
Sarah sat down in the plane accompanied by some of the doctors and nurses from KGH who were also supporters of Crazy Hats.
She said: “I was nervous, but I was sat down next to a lovely gentleman who introduced himself as Dr Mathews, an oncologist at Kettering Hospital.
“He chatted to me and calmed my nerves.”
A few years later, Sarah found herself sitting next to Dr Mathews again and she said: “Only this time we were in his office at Kettering General and he was telling me I had breast cancer.
“Once again, he was reassuring me, but this time I was fighting for my life.
“The next year passed in a blur, but with the help and encouragement I received from Crazy Hats, I remained positive.”
Sarah underwent extensive breast surgery followed by chemotherapy and radiotherapy to destroy the cancer.
She lost her hair and said: “I actually didn’t mind being bald and rarely wore my wig, however, I did miss my eyebrows.
“I had surgery to remove the cancer and then had further surgery later to level me up.
“I also had a nipple tattoo as I lost mine in the surgery.
“Kettering Hospital breast care unit were amazing.”
During that time, Sarah was unable to take her Weight Watchers classes so took a year out, but she wasn’t away for long.
Sarah said: “After things had settled, I went back to doing my classes and continued my work with Crazy Hats with a new appreciation for all they do.”
In 2016 Sarah once again boarded the plan with a parachute strapped to her back.
She was back and ready to start raising funds for Crazy Hats and in 2017 her son jumped too.
Her members continue to do the Crazy Hats walk every year and this year will be no exception.
On March 18, they will put on their walking shoes to not only help them with their weight loss journeys but also to support Sarah’s continued efforts to raise money and awareness for cancer and the charities that support victims through it.
And in January this year, Sarah finally got the news she was waiting for - she was cancer free.
She said: “I am feeling more positive about my future, I even asked my boyfriend to marry me and he said yes.”
And the celebrations have continued as Sarah was surprised at her meeting in Earls Barton by being awarded her ninth diamond coach award, an award given to Weight Watcher coaches in recognition of their passion for their members.