“I turned the experience of breast cancer into something positive, I fulfilled a childhood dream of mine”: new lease of life for breast cancer survivor taking on half marathon challenge
Kerstin, 40, from Thorpe Bay in Essex, will be running the Royal Parks Half Marathon to raise money for Breast Cancer Now after her diagnosis of an aggressive form of breast cancer in November 2019.
At the age of 39, Kerstin was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was caught at an early stage, however this did not take away from the daunting treatment schedule that was to come. She explains, “There were surgeries, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, antibody treatment and hormone treatment.”
On top of this, COVID-19 was also closing in on the world, and Kerstin was halfway through her chemotherapy treatment when lockdown started in March 2020: “The prospect of having to shield whilst pursuing weekly chemotherapy treatment, followed by daily radiotherapy for a month was scary.”
She continues, “I was also worried about home-schooling my children whilst dealing with the side effects of treatment, and the trip to the hospital involved a three-and-a-half-hour car journey there and back.”
Despite the various obstacles that Kerstin has faced, she has managed to turn this seemingly daunting experience into a positive, by gaining a new positive outlook on life:
“I took the event of my illness as a reason to create a more fulfilled life for myself and my family, by focusing on what is really important to me. I didn’t want my illness to stop me in my tracks but used it as a tool to reset my tracks!
“I fulfilled a childhood dream of mine (and that of my children) and bought a red fox Labrador in June! He has brought so much joy and happiness, giving us another reason to embrace an active lifestyle – motivating me to go for a walk no matter how bad the weather is!”
As soon as Kerstin started to feel better during her treatment, she signed up to the Royal Parks Half Marathon, in aid of Breast Cancer Now. Running had always had a special role in Kerstin’s life and she continued to run throughout half of her chemotherapy treatment.
She states, “I had to stop running when my treatment became too strong, but when radiotherapy began in May 2020, I started to run again. Every day, I would park the car in Wapping and run across to Guys Hospital in Southwark.”
She continues, “On the way back from the hospital, I would often take a longer run along the Southbank, St Paul’s and the Tower of London. I remember this time quite fondly as I started to feel like myself again.”
Kerstin’s diagnosis has shifted her way of living: “I can wholeheartedly say that a positive attitude and the love and support of my family and friends helped me through my diagnosis. My treatment has given me a different perspective, and I’m focusing more on my own needs and quality time with my family. I’ve never lived a fuller life than I do now!”
To donate to Kerstin’s cause, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/kerstin-morgan1