Former Royal Preston Hospital nurse makes great strides for Rosemere Cancer Foundation

Posted on - 14th January, 2021 - 7:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Avenham, Charities, Health, Moor Park, Preston News
Linda at Ben’s Guild Wheel memorial stone

A former staff nurse has raised over £1,600 for Rosemere Cancer Foundation over Christmas by completing Preston’s seventh annual Cheeky Santa Dash.

Coronavirus restrictions meant this year’s dash had to swap from being a festive family fun run around Avenham Park to an individual run or walk
there and back along a scenic 2.5k stretch of the Guild Wheel from Miller Park, which is dedicated to the event’s founder, the late Ben Ashworth.

Linda Schofield, who celebrates her 60th birthday later this year, walked the route with hubby Gary.

Read more: Grants come in to keep Preston cancer clinic open

She knew Ben, who sadly passed away aged just 38 in July 2017, five years after being diagnosed with bowel cancer. The pair shared waiting room time when both were being treated at Rosemere Cancer Centre.

Linda, who still goes to the centre every three weeks to receive injections of the drug Herceptin, which is used to treat some types of breast cancer, said: “We hit it off as we shared a similar sense of humour. You need humour when you are diagnosed with cancer and constantly having to face your own mortality.”

Mum-of-two Linda was first diagnosed with cancer in April 2003. Working on the specialist Burns and Plastics Unit at the Royal Preston Hospital, she began to suffer hip pain. It was only after many appointments and physiotherapy that a scan revealed Linda had a broken pubic bone.

Linda with her husband Gary

Worse was to come when Linda was told the fracture was caused by secondary breast cancer which had gone to the bone. It had spread to both her hips, spine, ribs, neck and shoulder. There was also a bit on her skull.

Linda began radiotherapy and chemotherapy and with Gary’s support, she determined not to let cancer define her. Linda explained: “When you have cancer, you’re in this bubble. It’s all about appointments and treatment. You feel you have no control of your life.

“I yearned for those little pinches of normality. I began going for walks and litter picking. I returned to work on a limited basis, which gave me back a sense of identity and purpose. I also enrolled as a volunteer working with Lancashire Volunteering Partnership as and when I felt well enough.”

Read more: Eric Wright Group fulfil pledge to support Rosemere Cancer Centre’s 2020 Walk in the Dark

Unfortunately, Linda’s breast cancer returned in 2009 and she underwent a double mastectomy, further chemotherapy and radiotherapy. After this, Linda was unable to work and had to formally retire after almost 30 years with Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

In 2017, Linda broke her left thigh bone and had further surgery to insert a titanium rod, followed by preventative surgery on her right thigh in 2018 with a similar operation. This bone weakness was the result of the ongoing treatments over the years.

Linda, who was presented with a prestigious High Sheriff of Lancashire award in 2019 for her voluntary work, which came on top of a mayoral award and a Valley Champions Award in 2010, said: “When I began my cancer treatment, Rosemere Cancer Foundation was very much in its infancy.

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“Not many people had heard of the charity. The company where Gary worked used to hold charity dinner dances and we got them to support Rosemere. His colleagues now at Total UK plus our friends, neighbours, family and my former colleagues still help us raise money for Rosemere. We would like to thank them all for their kindness.”

As well as the money raised by Linda, other 2020 Cheeky Santa Dash participants donated £666.20 to Rosemere Cancer Foundation.

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What do you think of Linda’s achievement? Let us know in the comments below

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