sheffield’s Peace Gardens turned a pretty shade of pink as twilight fell across the city in a stunt designed to encourage women across the region to sign up for a female-only race raising money for Cancer Research.
Young cancer survivor Olivia Molitor flicked the switch to turn the lights shining onto the gardens’ fountains pink.
The spectacular was in support of Race for Life, which takes place for the first time through Sheffield city centre next month. In the past the five kilometre race has been run from Don Valley Stadium and back.
Olivia, aged 24, now works for Cancer Research – managing events like races across the area, including another one planned for Doncaster on June 25 and 26.
She was just 21 when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Her university degree was complete and she had just started work with a marketing communications firm when everything was suddenly turned upside down by the devastating diagnosis.
Olivia said: “It felt like my life had to go on hold while I underwent treatment.
“I had to have numerous operations, tests, biopsies and scans to reach my diagnosis.
“I was informed that my cancer had spread from my neck, where the tumours had begun to grow, into my sternum in my chest cavity. This meant I had to start of chemotherapy straight away.”
A gruelling six months of therapy followed, over the course of which she lost her hair.
“That was awful to go through, particularly as a young woman, as most women will understand your hair is a huge part of who you are and losing mine felt like I lost a lot of my femininity.
“But the main effects from the treatment and the illness were the immense feelings of tiredness. Your body goes into overdrive to try to heal, and it is simply exhausting.”
Olivia has now finished treatment and was inspired to ‘give something back’ to Cancer Research through her new job as an area events manager for the charity.
“If it wasn’t for the work of their amazing scientists and research I would not be here today,” she said.
“I would encourage women to sign up to Race for Life and support the amazing cause that is Cancer Research UK and help more and more people like me to survive cancer.”
Emily Thompson, event manger for the Sheffield race on Sunday, July 3, added: “Using the Peace Gardens’ fountains in Sheffield to help raise awareness of Race for Life will hopefully help inspire women, not just in Sheffield, but right across South Yorkshire, to take part in a Race for Life event this summer.”
Log on to www.raceforlife.org or call 0871 6411111 to sign up for a race.
Events are also taking place in Rotherham on Sunday, July 17 and in Chesterfield this Sunday.