A SOLIHULL mum is riding roughshod over cancer by taking on a daring cycle challenge for a national charity.
Single mum Debbie Bradley, 44, is cycling over 500 miles in five days from Glasgow to London, calling at Cancer Research UK’s key centres en route.
Debbie, who won the title of World Sprint Duathlon Champion in 2014, is determined to complete the mammoth ride despite having only just recovered from a serious bike crash four weeks ago.
As a Learning and Development Manager for Cancer Research UK, Debbie knows only too well how important research is into the disease.
But the urgency of the cause really hit home in 2015 when Debbie herself had a serious cancer scare.
She is aiming to raise £10,000 for Stand Up To Cancer, which pioneers new treatments and cures for cancer patients.
Debbie, who lives in Hampton in Arden with her eight-year-old daughter Lillie, was a latecomer to cycling and only realised her potential at the age of 40.
She qualified as an age group athlete for Team GB in the World Duathlon Championships in 2014 and won the title of World Sprint Duathlon Champion.
Now she combines her job at Cancer Research UK with competing at the highest amateur level in duathlon and is sponsored by women’s cycling brand ‘Liv’.
But at the peak of her physical fitness Debbie was knocked for six when in 2015 she discovered an olive-sized lump in her armpit while showering.
“I showed my mum and she discovered that I had another one in my other armpit that I hadn’t even notice,” said Debbie.
“I went straight to the GP and was referred for further investigations but by the time I saw the consultant I had developed further lumps in my groin and was having night sweats. Basically, I was showing symptoms of lymphoma.”
Debbie had biopsies and surgery to remove her lymph nodes but managed to put a brave face on the situation until the day she got her results.
“I was sitting in the consultant’s room and it just suddenly hit me that my life might be about to change utterly, and what that would mean for my daughter Lillie. I realised how fragile life is and how it can all be snatched away in a moment,” said Debbie.
“When the doctor said the lumps weren’t cancerous I was so relieved I cried. I’ve never forgotten that moment, and when I go about my work at Cancer Research UK I always remember that I could so easily have been a cancer patient myself.”
To sponsor Debbie visit her fundraising page at https://fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/page/stand-up-to-cancer-cycle-challenge-1