A BUSINESSWOMAN struck down with cancer just a few months after taking part in a charity run raising money for research into the disease has signed up for another fundraiser following treatment.
Amanda Pilgrim completed a 10km run for Cancer Research two years ago - unaware that within months she would be struck down with one of the most aggressive forms of breast cancer.
Now, after undergoing chemotherapy and extensive surgery, the 44-year-old has signed up to the women-only Race for Life next month, fundraising for the same cause.
The head of business development at Sheffield Chamber of Commerce will be joined by colleagues who will run as the Chamber Chicks.
Amanda said: “I have so many people to thank and the run is my way of giving back to those who have helped.”
Her ordeal began in January 2009 when she discovered a lump.
Because of a family history - her mother had already died from breast cancer - the GP, despite believing the lump to be a cyst, sent her to the Royal Hallamshire Hospital for a mammogram.
Devastatingly the scan revealed cancer - and one of the most aggressive forms.
Amanda said: “It was so overwhelming I was lost for words, but the people around me were reacting more than I was. I was in total astonishment.”
Within a month she had undergone a double mastectomy, reconstruction surgery and had some lymph nodes removed.
Over the course of the rest of the year she also had her ovaries, Fallopian tubes and gall bladder taken away as a precautionary measure.
“I carried the BRCA1 gene which meant I was at extremely high risk of the aggressive cancer returning, so doctors wanted to stop it in its tracks,” Amanda said.
At the time she ran her own commercial business from the Broomhill home where she lives with husband Steve and her stepdaughter.
Steve stepped in to ensure the firm stayed afloat while Amanda battled the side affects of the gruelling treatment which included the loss of her beloved hair.
But her ordeal had given her a new outlook on her career and, after spending so long recovering at home, she wanted to get back into a busy workplace.
The new job came up at the Chamber and Amanda did not hesitate to apply.
“I knew in my next career role I wanted to make a difference as you feel like you have been given another chance. I could have gone for an easy job role but I knew I would be bored,” she said.
Although the treatment has left her suffering from bone weakening condition osteoporosis, training for the Race for Life on Sunday, July 3, is helping to build her strength.
“I have been told running will help to strengthen my bones so now I am going to the gym three times a week, something I never considered before I was told I had breast cancer!” she said.
n Visit www.raceforlifesponsorme.org/chamberchicks to sponsor them. Or visit www.raceforlife.org or call 0871 6411111 to sign up for the event.