A HEREFORD cancer survivor is putting a new spin onRace for Life by taking on her own ‘hula-thon’ and hooping in colleagues at the school where she works. 

Jan Poole (54), a teaching assistant at St Francis Xavier’s school in Hereford, dreamt up the hula-hooping challenge to raise funds for Cancer Research UK. The only snag to Jan’s money-spinning challenge is – she can’t hula-hoop to save her life!

But pupils at Jan’s school are rallying round to coach her in the playground, and she is determined to master the skill in time for Race for Life at Home on April 24, whenshe and colleagues will be spinning their socially distanced hula-hoops at Bishop’s Meadow.

Jan and her friends will join thousands of people from across the UK who have all vowed to support Race for Life at Home this April and raise money for life-saving research.  

People can visit raceforlife.org to sign up to Race for Life at Home for £5* then receive a Race pack which includes a medal.  Money raised will help scientists find new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, helping to save more lives.   

Cancer Research UK is predicting a staggering £300 million drop in income caused by COVID-19 over the next three years which could put future medicalbreakthroughs at risk.

 All 400 mass-participation Race for Life events across the UK were cancelled last year to protect the country’s health during the pandemic. And events that were scheduled for this spring and early summer have also now been postponed. 

Rather than do the standard 5K run, Jan came up with her wacky idea of a hula-thon during a sleepless night worrying about a hospital appointment to investigate a lump she had found on her chest.

A double mastectomy after breast cancer in 2015 meant Jan’s breast cancer could not recur and she has been proudly ‘flat’ ever since, even featuring in a bare-chestedmastectomy photoshoot for Stand Up To Cancer. 

But she was sent for an urgent scan by her GP after a new lump appeared on her chest in March this year. 

“I had already decided to do something of my own for Race for Life at Home, because I have so many lovely, emotional memories of past events. I started doing Race for Life long before my own cancer diagnosis, and I did it with my daughter three days after my chemo finished,” said Jan. 

“I tried not to get too worried about the lump in my chest, but I couldn’t sleep before my appointment and the ideaof hula-hooping for Race for Life at Home came to me in the small hours of the morning.”

Thankfully, scans showed Jan’s worries were unfounded and the lump was just a cyst, but she says the experience brought back forcefully the anxieties from her cancer diagnosis. 

She said: “I know how vital it is to keep raising funds for life-saving research.  My breast cancer was diagnosed through an early mammogram because my sister and five aunts had had breast cancer.  

“My cancer was found to be invasive, so in addition tomy double mastectomy I had chemotherapy and also 12 months of Herceptin injections, a drug that Cancer Research UK helped develop. 

“I’m very excited about my Race for Life at Home challenge and have got quite a few friends and colleagues joining in. We’re looking forward to the chance to raise funds for research to help develop gentler and more effective treatments for cancer.”  

Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, which has been in partnership with Tesco for 20 years, is an inspiring series of 3K, 5K, 10K, Pretty Muddy and Pretty Muddy Kids events which raise millions of pounds every year to help beat cancer by funding crucial research.   

A live broadcast on the Cancer Research UK Race for Life Facebook and Race for Life Instagram pages on Saturday April 24th will include an energiser from a fitness expert as well as inspirational messages of support from people who have been through cancer. Participants are then invited to run, walk or jog 5K. Organisers are also inviting participants to share photos and videos on social media using the hashtag #RaceatHome  

Every year around 32,100 people are diagnosed with cancer in the West Midlands** and one in two people in the UK born after 1960 will get cancer in their lifetime.***  But the good news is more people are surviving the disease now than ever before. Cancer survival in the UK has doubled since the early 1970s and Cancer Research UK’s work has been at the heart of that progress.  

Jane Redman, Cancer Research UK’s spokesperson forHerefordshire, said: “Even whilst we’re still apart, we can unite against cancer. 

“There are a million reasons to Race for Life at Home, to help save lives, for those who have had vital treatment delayed or just for a reason to get off the sofa. We want people to run, walk, jog – or do something mad like hula-hooping – to raise money for life-saving research. 

“The truth is, COVID-19 has slowed us down.  But we will never stop and we are absolutely determined to continue to create better cancer treatments for tomorrow.   

Even though we have to Race for Life differently this spring, nothing is going to stop us running, walking or jogging 5K to raise money to help beat cancer. That’s why we need as many people as possible across Herefordshire and Worcestershire to sign up to Race for Life at Home this April, to stand united and do something extraordinary to help beat cancer. 

“We’re constantly monitoring the COVID-19 situation and are working hard to move our mass participation Race for Life events to the autumn and to make sure they can go ahead safely and with all necessary COVID-19 guidelines in place. ****  

“We’d love to invite as many people as possible to Race for Life at Home this spring then physically come together in the autumn to join us for Race for Life in Worcester.”

The Race for Life 3K, 5K and 10K, and Pretty Muddy for adults and kids, which are open to all ages and abilities, have been rescheduled for this autumn and are now due to take place at Worcester Racecourse onSaturday 16 and Sunday 17 October.  

Sign up toRace for Life at Home this April, and visitraceforlife.orgor call 0300 123 0770. Join in and share with #RaceatHome