A cancer survivor is urging women in Chester to realise the importance of cervical screening ahead of a national event which will see thousands unite to oppose the disease.
Caireen Candlin of Blacon, will be one of hundreds taking part in the Chester leg of the March on Cancer this Saturday (October 11) – a sponsored night time walk around the city - and will take to a podium to show others that she is living proof of the value of research into cancer.
The 43-year-old was diagnosed with the disease eight years ago after smear tests had detected abnormal cells, and further screeing revealed Caireen, a Slimming World consultant, had cervical cancer.
She underwent minor surgery to remove the cancerous cells and received three months of chemotherapy but further smears detected more cancerous cells and was forced to undergo more surgery.
Already a mum to two boys, Caireen, who was keen to have another child, was advised that the drugs she had been treated with could have affected her cervix, but only weeks after being advised she might not conceive again, she learned she was pregnant with twins.
But the cancer treatment and a blocked tube resulted in one of the twins being an ectopic pregnancy and Caireen sadly lost the second baby, and needed major surgery to save her and her remaining child.
Thankfully, baby Daisy was born safe and well and celebrated her sixth birthday earlier this year.
However, Caireen needs annual smears to ensure she remains free of cancer, and having lost her mum to the disease just last month, she is keen to support this weekend's fundraising campaign that will fund vital research into finding better treatments for patients.
"Our family knows from experience that united we’re stronger than cancer so I’m urging local people to join me and sign up now for March On Cancer," Caireen explained.
“I was really shocked to be diagnosed with cancer and it still feels like a complete miracle that we have Daisy here aged six when I was warned I might not get pregnant again.
“Losing my mum to cancer has been so difficult as she put up a real fight. It will be very emotional to see people from Chester coming together at the March and showing their fighting spirit.”
Jane Bullock, Cancer Research UK’s spokesperson for Chester, added: “We are very grateful to Caireen for helping us to Stand Up To Cancer.
“Our March On Cancer event is for everyone - adults and children. It isn’t a sporting challenge and you don’t need to be super fit to take part. Instead, it’s about bringing people together in a defiant show of force, as people in Chester join hundreds of people across the UK to march, raise money and help save lives.
“We are asking everyone to start their fundraising ahead of the march and continue in the countdown to the live TV event on Friday, October 17," she added.
"Taking part in March On Cancer is a pledge of commitment to support Stand Up To Cancer and bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.”
The March On Cancer event will start and finish at Grosvenor Park with participants following the path along the River Dee, passing Chester Racecourse and back under the ancient Roman City Walls, via the Town Square.
Those involved will march for approximately 45 minutes setting off at 7.30pm and be accompanied by live music, entertainment and stories from people who have beaten cancer.
The live TV fundraiser on Channel 4 at 7.30pm on October 17, will be hosted by Davina McCall, Alan Carr and Dr Christian Jessen. The trio will front a star studded night of television, jam packed with programming from entertainment and science to documentaries - featuring some of Channel 4’s and the UK’s best loved talent and respected researchers.
Stand Up To Cancer took place for the first time in the UK in 2012 and raised over £8 million for ground-breaking research.
For more information and to get involved visit standuptocancer.org.uk