Competitor Stories – Rebecca Neill

“After feeling unwell for several months and a number of GP visits I was finally given a CT scan on September 13, 2017. Two days later they called to say that I needed to get to hospital immediately and pack a bag for a long stay.  Following a colonoscopy I was given the terrible diagnosis that it was bowel cancer and that it had spread to my ovaries, part of my upper intestine and bladder.  I had two major operations, nearly a week in intensive care, and was away from home for month in total – leaving my husband and two daughters to cope in my absence (and missing my 47th birthday!).

I was incredibly weak after hospital and had lost 4 stone over the previous few months. I could barely walk and presumed that I would never be able to run again! Partly because I felt so feeble and partly because I had to get used to two lifesaving but life changing additions – a colostomy bag and a urostomy bag (as my bladder had also been removed).

I used walking as my way of getting back to health initially, both physically and emotionally. I am lucky enough to live up on Rodborough Common with many beautiful walks on my doorstep. I walked all through my 6 months of chemotherapy and in June 2018 was able to do a 50k walk for charity (the Bowel Cancer charity of course).

Then in July/August 2018 I decided to try and start running again. It seemed to go ok and I have been doing 4 or 5k runs usually a couple of times a week since then. I signed up for the Chilly 10K as a goal to aim for. Being able to walk and run in the fresh air and beautiful countryside around where I live has been a fundamental part of my journey to recovery!’