Rachel’s defiant run in wake of beating cancer

Driving home from hospital after being diagnosed with cancer, 38-year-old Rachel Harris vowed that, no matter what, she would run the Sheffield Half Marathon when she was 40.

By Nik Farah
Monday, 18 February, 2019, 08:39
Driving home from hospital after being diagnosed with cancer, 38-year-old teacher Rachel Harris vowed that, no matter what, she would run the Sheffield Half Marathon when she was aged 40.

And this April, she will fulfil that promise, having being given the all clear by her doctor last October.

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From the moment Rachel, who lives in Dore with her husband and their two young children, received her diagnosis of colon cancer in September 2017, she was determined to beat the illness. “I lost my mum to breast cancer when I was 13-years-old so the thought of my children losing their mum – that was just not an option,” says the Sheffield teacher. Rachel was determined to stay fit and healthy during her treatment, and the Asda Foundation Sheffield Half Marathon became her focus and motivation. She says: “After the initial diagnosis, we found out that the tumours had spread to my liver and lymphatic system and that I was not operable. I was told that the only treatment they could give me was chemo and that it was unlikely I’d ever be cured. “However, I refused to believe this and did everything in my power to ensure I’d get through this - I drastically changed my diet, I started taking supplements, I juiced, I meditated, I did reiki, I did acupuncture, I used affirmations, I visualised and I exercised. “One of my visualisations was doing the Sheffield Half with my family cheering me on. I would be as active as possible throughout my chemo doing whatever I felt like I could, sometimes short walks, sometimes a run. I’m not sure if exercise helped me to get better, but it made me feel so much better.” After six rounds of chemotherapy, the tumours had shrunk enough that doctors were now prepared to operate. Rachel has three operations in February, April and August last year. On October 25, doctors gave her the news she had longed for; Rachel now longer had any visible sign of cancer. In April, Rachel will raise funds for Cavendish Cancer Support, which has supported her and her family in the last 18 months. “I think it will be so incredibly emotional. I have lived that moment every day in my head and to actually do it will feel out of this world.”