Avenham Park to be taken over by more than 4,000 pink ladies

Photo: David Hurst
Race For Life Special
Leanne Whyman of Arnott Road, Preston with her daughter Annabelle

Photo: David Hurst Race For Life Special Leanne Whyman of Arnott Road, Preston with her daughter Annabelle

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Organisers of the Race for Life have praised the ‘incredible’ response to this year’s events with more than 4,000 women expected to descend on Avenham Park across two days this weekend.

Inspired women and girls of all ages will line up for the series of 5k, 10k, Pretty Muddy and marathon events on the park, united in their hope and support to one day find a cure for cancer.

Race for Life logo

Race for Life logo

Preston mum and cancer survivor Leanne Whyman will be sounding the horn to set participants on their way.

Leanne, 32, single mum to Annabelle who is four and a half years old said: “I feel absolutely blessed to be alive and so looking forward to setting the runners off and taking part myself!

“When I was told I had cancer my first question was whether I was going to die and then my second question was whether I would lose my hair!

“It was a difficult and scary time, but I just focussed on being positive for my little girl and getting back to full health as soon as I could.”

Photo Neil Cross
Race for Life Pretty Muddy at Moor Park, Preston

Photo Neil Cross Race for Life Pretty Muddy at Moor Park, Preston

Leanne was just 29, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013

A regular runner and swimmer, Leanne was a fit, healthy young mum, running around after then18-month old Annabelle. When she first discovered the lump in her right breast her GP, suggested it could be fibrous and may have developed as a result of having stopped breastfeeding.

Leanne continued to assess the lump and when it did not go away she was referred to Chorley Hospital for a series of tests. She feared the worst and was devastated to be told she had breast cancer.

Leanne underwent chemotherapy treatment, surgery to remove her right breast and daily radiotherapy for three weeks to fight the cancer.

Leanne, who teaches psychology at Kirkham Grammar School, will be invited on stage at the event at Avenham Park on Sunday June 19 to talk about her battle against breast cancer.

Jane Bullock, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for the North West, said: “We are incredibly honoured that so many women have signed up for Race for Life Preston.

“The response this year has been incredible. Every day, around 110 people are diagnosed with cancer in the North West.

“That’s why we need women of all shapes and sizes to pull on their leggings, lace up their trainers and show their support.

“Taking part is about being part of a collective force of powerful women - of all ages - leading the charge against cancer.”

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 North West.

Jane added: “One in two people in the UK, like Leanne, will be diagnosed with cancer at some stage in their lives.

“Thanks to advances in research more people are surviving than ever before, but there’s still more work to be done.

“The fight is on and we’re rallying women across Lancashire to join us at the starting line.”

Entries for the events can still be submitted but they close late on Thursday night for Pretty Muddy and on Friday night for the 5k and 10k events.