A woman from Daventry walked four marathons in four days just months after finishing treatment for breast cancer.
Pat Hipkiss said she "walked, cried, sung and partied" her way through the four day challenge at the Nijmegen Marches in the Netherlands earlier this month.
Walking with a team from Walk the Walk, the breast cancer charity behind the MoonWalk in London, Pat joined the largest multi-day marching event in the world to help raise money for the charity.
Remarkably, Pat only finished her final course of radiotherapy in January, after being diagnosed with breast cancer in September last year.
Around 47,000 people take part in the Nijmegen Marches, with hundreds of supporters lining the route through picturesque villages to cheer them on.
Team Walk the Walk took on the 40km Nijmegen Marches route, starting and finishing in the City of Nijmegen each day for four consecutive days.
Pat said: "I knew that despite it being tough, it is the walking event of all events. The villages and towns that we walk through literally party all day. In my mind I visualised myself walking the ‘Via Gladiola’ - the final stretch on the last day - where sometimes the supporting crowd is five deep and people climb onto roofs to support the event. It is like a royal procession.
"I started the event and I honestly didn’t know if I had the stamina to complete the four days, but all I could do was to try, one step at a time. It turned out to be the most emotional event I have ever completed. We had walked, cried, sung and partied our way through four days."
Pat has completed many events for Walk the Walk and her contributions took on an added poignancy after she was diagnosed last year. When she discovered a lump in her left breast, Pat initially put it down to bruising after she sustained a fall. However, after deciding she needed to get it checked soon after, tests revealed it was cancer and Pat underwent a lumpectomy followed by radiotherapy
Pat said: "I consider myself to be fortunate. Yes, I’d had cancer, but I had caught it early. During this time my Walk the Walk 'family' kept me going, with numerous presents and good luck wishes. I knew following radiotherapy that I needed a goal in mind. I had already entered The MoonWalk London but typical me, I needed more! So I entered the Nijmegen Marches to walk 160km in four days. I had previously started the Nijmegen Marches three times and finished twice."
After completing the gruelling challenge, Pat was overwhelmed to receive the historic, royally-approved medal, the Vierdaagsekruis (Four Days Marches Cross).
She added: "I’m learning that other people can benefit from my story. If as a result, just one person checks their breasts and gets an early diagnosis then I will have achieved something."
Walk the Walk has raised more than £132m since 1996, which has funded research into breast cancer and helped improve the lives of those living with cancer now.
For more information and to sign up for a Walk the Walk event, visit www.walkthewalk.org