A mum who has beaten cancer twice will be taking part in her first Race for Life as she celebrates one year since finishing her treatment.
Julie Hawkins will be running the race with her lifelong friend, Lyndsey Garrett, who has supported her through both cancer diagnoses.
The two 45-year-olds will be tied together and three-legged for the 5k route around Thornes Park next Sunday.
Ms Hawkins, of Hawthorne Mount, Normanton, will also be celebrating her daughter Jenna graduating from university as a doctor - a dream the 24-year-old first voiced at the age of 11 when her mum was first diagnosed.
Ms Hawkins said: “Jenna had written the word ‘cancer’ on a piece of paper and each time I went in for my treatment she rubbed a bit of the word out, which really helped her deal with it. Then Jenna wrote a note that said ‘When I grow up, I’m going to be a doctor and help people’ which I thought was really kind and thoughtful. She always worked hard at school, but I thought this was just a dream she had.
“But on July 12, I will have one of my proudest moments of my life when I see my daughter graduate from Keele University - as a fully qualified doctor. Just like she told me she would all those years ago.”
Ms Hawkins was first diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a type of cancer of the white blood cells, in 2001.
She said: “I had started to feel unwell and lumps started appearing around my neck and underneath my arms. I thought I wouldn’t get to see my two kids grow up.”
But she underwent chemotherapy, radiotherapy and a clinical trial and beat the cancer. However, just before Christmas 2014, she started feeling run down and her arms started to ache.
She said: “I knew in my mind the cancer was back.”
After further chemotherapy, Ms Hawkins also had a stem cell transplant. She lost her hair again and, in February 2015, Ms Garrett shaved off her own shoulder length hair to show empathy for her best friend raising more than £2,000 in the process.
It is now one year ago this week that Ms Hawkins finished her treatment. She said: “It is really important to me that we can raise money to support research as it helped me beat cancer twice.”
There is still time to sign up for Sunday’s event. Entries close at midnight on Friday, May 13. Visit www.raceforlife.org or call 0300 123 0770.