Every two minutes someone in the UK is told they have cancer. They’ll hear that word and their life will change forever. One in three of us will develop the illness in our lifetime, and chances are you know someone already affected by it. It sucks, and it’s time to fight back.
Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading charity dedicated to researching cancer and potential cures. Every year they hold over two hundred events to raise money and awareness of their cause, and people turn up in their thousands to show their support. 22 year old Carys Carne is one of those people. After her mother passed away from Cancer last year, she decided that she wasn’t going to just sit around and wallow in her sadness. Instead, she put on some running shoes and decided to raise money to help beat the disease. I caught up with her a month before the race to see how things were going.
What made you decide to do Race for Life?
Race for Life is very well known so from a fundraising point of view it’s not just a random thing like climbing a mountain, it’s a big event. I’ve also wanted to get in shape, and it’s an incentive to get training. Everyone that knows me knows that I don’t do running, so to get fit enough to run 5K and know that at the end of it the money’s going to a good cause. It might not save my mum, but it could save someone else’s.
Losing my mum last year pushed me to do it. I’ve always considered it because it’s a good thing to do, but going through all that changed things. Seeing what she went through and what it did to her, watching the violation as she lost her hair which as a women is part of your identity, it’s all pushing me towards do it because if I don’t help and everyone had that attitude, then where do you get?
If I could inspire just one other person to run it, then that’s another £100. Together that’s £200 that could be the difference between finding new treatment and not.
What happened to your mum?
It originally started 6 or 7 years ago, she was first diagnosed with cancer in her ovaries and lymph nodes. She had a hysterectomy, chemotherapy and radio therapy to kill any cancer cells. She was excited by the radio therapy because it meant she was the only person in the family that was tattooed. After about 6 months, she got the all clear. With the check-ups, there was one year when she was all clear, and then she started feeling poorly and knew something wasn’t right.
She went in for different scans and tests, and eventually they found what was wrong. At this point she had cancer again in her lymph nodes, and she had more radio therapy and chemo, followed by another all clear.
Then the year before last she kept feeling poorly and towards the end of the year she had a lot of problems with her bowels. They said were going to operate to sort out the damage and build her back up so she could have more chemotherapy. Unfortunately, she didn’t make it through it all.
What’s your favourite memory with her?
Before she got ill, we used to go camping quite a lot. I remember my mum sitting and yawning, a couple of glasses of wine, a bit tipsy giggling about silly little things. We’d take walks around the site and see all different things. One time, my parents took me up to Scotland to see the dolphins as a treat for doing well in school. My camping memories are my best…either that of her singing.
What training have you done for the race?
I’ve joined the gym and doing cardio to improve my general fitness as well as running on the treadmill. I’ve also been running around Biggin Hill doing the odd mile run. I’ve not yet done 5K, I am brickin’ it! It’s quite far. I’ve had a few issues with my knee, so I’ve had to stop training, but I’m getting there.
The race is coming up pretty soon, how do you feel about it?
I don’t think I’ll ever be prepared. I’m excited to be doing a good thing, but I’m also scared because people have already donated money, I can’t let them down. I’m happy that I’ve got this far, I’ve been doing a lot of training and I’ve raised money, but I want to raise more. I set a target of £100, and when I bet it I was over the moon. I set it thinking “oh maybe, 10 people will give me £10”, it’s doable. When I reached that target, I was like right there’s no excuse now, I’ve got to do it.
Would you do another race for life?
Depending on how I do on the day, I could see myself doing it next year. If it goes really well, I might do 10K next year – but I’m not promising anything!
Why should people sponsor you?
For me personally, I appreciate every penny that’s donated because I understand that money’s tight. I don’t really do running, I’d rather be at home watching telly with a take away, but the fact is I’m now trying to change my life to accommodate the running and getting fit. I want to make the people who sponsor me proud.
Not just that, but its watching someone you loves suffer because of this awful disease and knowing that now there’s an increased risk of you yourself getting sick. I don’t want to go through that, I saw what it did to my mum; I want 50 years to live not 10.
It’s time we did something. There are people- kids- dying at such young ages from this disease, and it’s not right. We can change lives, surely that’s worth it?
And a final note from me:
Carys is one of my closest friends, and I often write on here about the little adventures we have together. She means a lot to me and I hope that you can tell from this interview just how much this race means to her. If you would like to support Carys then you can donate to her fundraising page by clicking on this link – https://www.justgiving.com/caryscarne/
Every penny counts!