Running to overcome cancer - Women's Running

Running to overcome cancer

Author: Women's Running Magazine

Read Time:   |  January 20, 2015

emily chick

“This time last year I couldn’t walk up the stairs but now I’m about to run a marathon.”

34-year-old, mum of two, Emily Chick was diagnosed with breast cancer last year. Losing her confidence and suffering from anxiety due to fears of her cancer returning after her treatments, Emily decided to face the problem head on – she signed up to the London Marathon.

Emily was diagnosed with breast cancer last March, when her daughter Sophia was five weeks old and her son was eight.

Emily was six months pregnant when she first discovered the lump. “I was cleaning my teeth and noticed one arm was fatter than the other. But at the time I thought it was due to pregnancy and a result of putting on weight generally,” she recalls. “It was two days after my baby was born, when I was shaving my armpits, I noticed a swelling in one of my lymph nodes. I showed my husband who agreed it was unusual. I went to see a doctor who referred me and after numerous tests, and scans I was diagnosed with having two tumours in my breast, one of which had spread to a lymph node.”

A course of difficult treatments followed – chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and a mastectomy, which resulted in Emily losing all of her hair. Though Emily was given the all clear and felt medically and physically well, she was struggling mentally and feeling anxious due to fears of her cancer coming back.

Knowing she needed to do something to help her clear her head, Emily decided to take up running. Opting for the ultimate test of endurance, she bravely signed up to this year’s London Marathon. Though the support of her friends, husband and family helped her, her training for London has had a huge impact in helping her to overcome the mental trauma of dealing with cancer.

“Running and walking makes me feel like I have a clear head” she says. “It has helped me deal with anxiety and the fear of the cancer returning. It also makes me feel more in control as I am doing my best to be healthy.”

emily chick 2

Emily’s training began by walking to build up her strength and stamina. At first she couldn’t even walk upstairs without really struggling, and then she couldn’t walk half a mile without all her muscles aching. But, over time, she has gradually built up her endurance and as a result feels much stronger. She has a long way to go till she runs the marathon in April, her body is still repairing from all the treatment and she gets more aches and pains than ever before. But, as Emily says, “the buzz of feeling fit and very alive is enough to outweigh any training pain.”

“I need to see my children grow up, so have fought as hard as I can to stay healthy,” says Emily, “Running the marathon is an important part of this.”

Emily is running the Virgin Money London Marathon this year for Cancer Research UK to help raise vital funds to beat cancer sooner. To support Cancer Research UK’s biggest ever marathon team and help raise £2.5 million, visit

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