Gemma Ellse has signed up to run this years London Marathon. She is running on behalf of the 'Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund' A spokesman from the charity told Gemma, "Melanoma is one of the Diseases of the 21st Century: it affected 1 in 1500 in the 1930s, now it affects 1 in 50 and rising: and yet, it is also one of our Best Kept Secrets!" Here is Gemma's story ...
In a moment of madness last summer, while studying for my veterinary finals, I entered the ballot for the London marathon. Come October, with only 3 mile runs to my name at that point, I was somewhat overwhelmed to receive a letter congratulating me on my place to run this April. However, I have always wanted to run a marathon at some point in my life, so there was no way I was turning down this opportunity. I started my training and now, with several runs over 10 miles under my belt, I am on track to race the 26.2 miles on Sunday April 13th 2014. I have chosen to run for the 'Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund' for Claire Ives and my ‘granny quack quack’, two women who I wish I could have had the chance to know better; they both tragically lost their lives to malignant melanoma – a truly horrible disease. Melanomas tend to present first in the skin, this can be in a mole or previously normal looking skin; as the disease advances the cancerous cells can spread to other organs of the body: lymph nodes, liver, lungs, bones and the brain. Sufferers of malignant melanoma often find themselves in and out of various hospitals for surgeries, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and all sorts of adjunctive treatments. I know this was the case for Claire, but she kept her head up high and kept fighting to the very end. By the time my granny acknowledged her lump there was already significant metastasis, following an initial surgery a week of chemotherapy made her more ill and she declined further treatment.
Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund is a charity set up to raise awareness of this type of cancer and to raise money towards research into new treatment options. I know lots of people ask for donations at this time of year, but any penny you can spare is much appreciated to support this charity’s wonderful work.
I would also like to take this opportunity to remind you as my friends and family to be aware of your skin and to get any changes you notice checked by your GP.