A Northamptonshire woman, who has incurable liver cancer, is rallying people to join her in the fight against the disease by entering Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life in Northampton.
With under two weeks to go until Northampton’s Race for Life event at Abington Park on June 7 – Teressa Jolley is urging grans, mums, daughters, sisters and nieces to sign up before it’s too late.
Teressa, who is 50 and lives Long Buckby, will be the guest of honour at the 5k and 10k events and is leading the warm-up. Despite being in treatment she will then dance zumba-style around the 5k course with 70 other zumba queens – on top of that she will run the 10k in the morning.
The 50-year-old zumba instructor was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, Teressa had chemotherapy and a mastectomy but then received the devastating news that the disease had spread to her liver and operating was not an option.
Teressa was told it is unlikely she will ever be clear of cancer, her treatment aims to manage the disease and keep it under control.
Teressa said: “I’ve had some very dark days and it’s hard to explain what that means but it’s like the whole world is coming down on you.
“I asked myself once, ‘Why me?’ I thought about it and said to myself, ‘I’m a 5ft 7 women with green eyes, so why not me? What makes me so special to not have this happen to me? This can happen to anyone.’
“I am determined to be positive, I have an amazing network of family and friends, I have my music and my dance. I realised it was either letting the cancer take over or it was down to me take charge and control this journey.”
Every two weeks Teressa has to take chemotherapy tablets and then has a week off – she has lost some of her finger and toenails and at one stage her hair – but she started teaching zumba to keep herself healthy and feeling positive.
Teressa works full-time and started zumba as a hobby in 2012, she fell in love with it and started to teach it. Teressa always wanted to dance and warming up the crowds at Northampton will be a dream come true.
She said: “I burst into tears when I was asked to do it, it’s a real privilege and an honour. Going through treatment in 2010 I joined my friends in Silverstone and I realised how special and emotional Race for Life is. I can’t wait to be part of Sunday June 7 and to then join the other Zumba Queens and all the other amazing people out on the course - not once but twice.”
Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, in partnership with Tesco, is an inspiring women-only series of 5k, 10k, Pretty Muddy and Marathon events which raises millions of pounds every year to help beat 200 different types of cancer.
Last year, 4830 women took part in Race for Life in Northampton and raised a fantastic £271,000. This year, organisers need 5000 women and girls to rally together to help raise £275,000 for vital research.
Michelle Leighton, Cancer Research UK’s Northampton events manager, said: “I hope Teressa’s story will encourage other women to sign up for Race for Life while there’s still time. There are under two weeks to go so time really is running out.
“The events are not competitive. They are not about being fit or fast. It’s about an army of women standing shoulder-to-shoulder in the fight against cancer. All of our participants are so inspiring and we want the women of Northampton to help make 2015 our best year yet.
“Whether you zumba, dance, walk or run the course I know with fire in their bellies and trainers at the ready our local ladies are up for the challenge.”
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 region.
To support Teressa and the Zum2Dance Queens visit https://www.justgiving.com/heatherrobinson16
To enter Race for Life go to www.raceforlife.org or call 0300 123 0770.