Enter the Simplyhealth Great South Run at: Greatrun.org/South

A young woman who was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at just 22-years-old is set to take on a 10-mile running challenge for a charity that supported her during her recovery.

Angela Mills, from Gosport in Hampshire, had her whole life turned upside down when she noticed a lump on her neck, just before going on a trip to Germany at Christmas time.

Following blood tests and an ultrasound, she was completely shocked to be told that she had thyroid cancer and needed surgery.

She was scheduled in for the surgery to remove her thyroid just a week later and had little time to take in the reality of her situation.

Her parathyroid gland was damaged during one of the procedures and she experienced extreme pain and still suffers from issues five years on.

After radiotherapy treatment, Angela was then given the all-clear but admits that she mentally didn't process how serious the situation was at the time.

Following her diagnosis, she decided to take up running as a challenge and a way of pushing herself. She also used this as a way of fundraising for cancer research.

This year, Angela has set herself her biggest challenge, by fundraising for the Butterfly Thyroid Cancer Trust at the Simplyhealth Great South Run on Sunday 21 October.

The 10 miles will be the furthest distance she has ran and she hopes to raise awareness about the specific Thyroid Cancer-related charity.

Angela said: "I noticed a lump on my neck when I was 22 and didn't really think anything of it, even my best friend joked that it was a 'fat old tumour'.

"I went to the doctors about something else and happened to mention the lump. They did a blood test to check my thyroid function and referred me to the Head and Neck Department at the Queen Alexandra hospital after the blood test showed no abnormalities.

"After they took a biopsy I just thought it would be a cyst or something similar so I was shocked when I met a surgeon and a nurse who told me it was cancer and I needed surgery.

"I had just finished university and went out most weekends, I was carefree, I didn't have a thing to worry about, then in that moment I found myself sat there crying , feeling like I was thrown into a brick wall.

"I struggled after my first operation as my body was aching and my neck was completely numb.

"I had another operation to remove the remaining part of my thyroid and my parathyroid glad got damaged. I experienced muscle cramps and spasms and five years on I still have issues around this.

"It wasn't until after my treatment that I started to think about it all. The scar on my neck was so obvious that I heard comments, people staring and I didn't want to leave the house without a scarf on.

"I am extremely lucky to have the friends I have, they supported me through the treatments and operations and still support me to this day. I also seeked support from Macmillan and I would recommend anyone going through something similar to seek support as it really helped me Services are also provided to friends and family of those who have been diagnosed with cancer,

"Being five years on, I wanted to do something that was a huge challenge. I have ran smaller events before since my diagnosis but I wanted to do something more."

Angela will join 20,000 others who will share the satisfaction of completing a 10 mile challenge at the Simplyhealth Great South Run, whatever their pace or motivation.

Participants take in the beautiful sights of the south coast and celebrate everything that's great about Portsmouth.

Angela hopes that her fundraising will encourage others to seek advice if they start to experience symptoms of thyroid cancer.

She added: "After my diagnosis I started running because I never thought I'd be able to do it. I wanted to push myself.

"There is a lot on awareness about cancer but I don't want people to become blinded to it as spotting symptoms early can save someone's life.

"I didn't' even know about the thyroid let alone thyroid cancer and I found there are specific charities that support individuals diagnosed with Thyroid cancer, like the Butterfly Thyroid Cancer Trust, so I thought it would be important to support them at the Simplyhealth Great South Run this year."

To support Angela's fundraising visit her fundraising page.

Enter the Simplyhealth Great South Run at: Greatrun.org/South