A GANG of Carlisle women will be tackling Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life Pretty Muddy event in tribute to a popular local mum-of-one who died in January of this year.
Race for Life Pretty Muddy will be held at Bitts Park on Saturday July 9 followed by a 5k and 10k Race for Life the following day – Sunday July 10, at the same venue.
Toni Jamieson died of bladder cancer aged just 41.
She had been having problems with what were initially believed to be bladder infections for 12 months before she was diagnosed with cancer.
Toni, who lived in London Road, Carlisle, and worked as a learning mentor at Caldew School in Dalston, was fit and healthy.
After repeated visits to the GP, she was eventually referred to hospital for tests which revealed she had a mass on her bladder.
Toni was told in July that immediate surgery was required which may then give her a one in eight chance of surviving for up to five years.
Despite facing major surgery, Toni, who was a Taekwondo enthusiast and teacher, took part in a gruelling “Total Warrior” event.
She bravely went through the surgery and despite being told she would need six weeks to recover, was back home with 13-year-old son Blake just 12 days later.
She made a good recovery from the surgery and was busy planning special treats and nights out, when she became ill with a suspected kidney infection and was re-admitted to hospital. Toni had to undergo further surgery, but became more poorly.
In the run-up to Christmas, tests found the cancer was still present and Toni’s condition deteriorated rapidly – she never returned home. She sadly died in St Oswald’s Hospice in Gosforth, Newcastle, only six months after being diagnosed with the disease.
Her cousin, Andrea Turney, has recruited a gang of 13 of Toni’s friends and family to take part in Pretty Muddy in tribute to Toni’s courage, including Toni’s sister Lisa Wilson, who lives in Lancashire.
Mum-of-one Lisa said: “My sister Toni was simply an amazing individual. She was beautiful, funny and caring and touched so many people’s lives in a positive way.”
“We hoped after the initial surgery that Toni would defy the odds even though we knew the outlook wasn’t good. She fought her cancer all the way and we were absolutely devastated when she was taken away from us in the space of just a few months.”
“Pretty Muddy is going to be such an emotional day, but Toni was all about her family, her friends, laughter, facing challenges and overcoming obstacles and she will inspire all of us to get through it. It will be a fantastic tribute to her memory.”
Mum-of-two Andrea Turney who lives in Houghton, said: “The whole community has been impacted by the loss of Toni. She was a lovely and caring woman who always put others first.
“We are so looking forward to celebrating Toni’s life at Pretty Muddy, but it will be very sad too as we all miss her.”
An army of women is needed to slip, slide and splash their way over, under and through a range of obstacles from scramble nets, tunnels and hurdles, to the final challenge of the giant inflatable slide – all to raise vital funds for Cancer Research UK’s life-saving work.
Pretty Muddy is non-competitive. It’s accessible for women who see themselves as couch potatoes as well those who are more GI Janes – the mission for everyone is to show cancer who’s boss.
Jane Bullock, Cancer Research UK’s North West spokeswoman, said: “We hope as many women as possible will rope-in their friends and family and help swell the ranks of Race for Life’s pink army.
“Pretty Muddy promises all the fun and camaraderie of our much loved 5k and 10k events – with lashings of mud, sweat and cheers.
“Race for Life events are not competitive. They are not about being fit or fast. Women can complete the Pretty Muddy course at their own pace, clambering, scrambling and laughing their way around.
“It’s about the power and strength of women coming together in a show of defiance against cancer. At Pretty Muddy, when we fight, we fight we fight dirty.”
Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, in partnership with Tesco for the last 15 years, is an inspiring women-only series of 5k, 10k and Pretty Muddy events which raises millions of pounds every year to help beat 200 different types of cancer.
Money raised through Race for Life allows Cancer Research UK’s doctors, nurses and scientists to advance research which is helping to save the lives of men, women and children across the North West.
Cancer survival rates have doubled since the 1970s and Cancer Research UK’s work has been at the heart of that progress. But more funds and more supporters are needed to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.
To enter Race for Life today go to raceforlife.org or call 0300 123 0770.