Terminal Corby woman takes to the saddle for mental health heroes
A Corby woman who has been given less than a year to live has vowed on carry on her fundraising efforts for a mental health charity for as long as she can.
Kate Howton was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in March this year after a routine screening test discovered a growth in her food pipe.
Despite undergoing a gruelling two and a half hour operation to remove the tumour she was told in September by doctors that it was too aggressive and she had around a year to live.
Kate said: "I'm not just going to curl up and die. The cancer I can't control but I am in control of fundraising and I want to raise £5,000 for Corby Mind before I go."
The 52-year-old completed a 35-minute sponsored horse ride at Harringworth Manor Stables - a childhood passion she had stopped when a teenager.
Due to her illness she has lost over three stone and it meant she could go riding again.
She said: "When I got to a certain age I just stopped riding because of my weight and I was busy doing exams. Getting back on the horse was like going home.
"I could only manage 35 minutes. My legs and hips were aching but I loved it. Everyone from Corby Mind was there to support me."
The evening before her challenge, Kate had hosted a celebratory 'life' party for 70 of her friends and family at the Best Western Hotel in Corby.
Kate was diagnosed with schizophrenia after she had a breakdown triggered by her brother Nigel's sudden death at the age of 32.
She had been a full-time carer for her mum Edna, a former nurse after her father Dr Derek Howton - a Corby GP - died in 2005 died of prostate cancer.
With her complex medical history, including treatment for breast cancer eight years ago, doctors told Kate the only suitable treatment might be radiotherapy to delay the inevitable.
She said: "I want quality of life, not quantity. I want to raise money for Corby Mind and it's my way of giving something back and it helps my mental health.
"I attend the peer support group twice a week and it's helped me so much. There's always a member of staff to chat to and we support each other."
Kate has already raised £1,900 but aims to reach her £5,000 goal with an indoor skydive and head shave by three of her friends.
She added: "All the peer group support has been wonderful. It's made such a difference and it keeps me going. I wouldn't have got through it without Corby Mind - I wouldn't be here."
Morgan Hay, fundraising lead and mental health first aider trainer for Corby Mind, said: "Kate is so selfless. She is still trying to help others even if she's down.
"She helps people with advice and support. She really is so positive and a good egg.
"The money will go to buying furnishings for the centre to make it more homely and a wall kettle for our Crisis Cafe to save time.
"Instead of spending a lot of time making cups of tea we can be counselling clients.
"We want to do whatever it takes to makes people's lives easier."
To add to Kate's total go to her fundraising page or donations can be handed in at Corby Mind, 18, Argyll Street, Corby.