Grandmother Fran To Join Family At South 5K

Great Comeback 1

Enter the Simplyhealth Great South 5k at: Greatrun.org/South

A grandmother is set to take on her first 5k running challenge with her family after being diagnosed with stomach cancer earlier this year.

Frances Kirk, from Southsea, was diagnosed with stomach cancer in January after going through tests following issues with her stomach.

The treatment that followed in the next months at the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth took its toll on Frances both physically and mentally.

She underwent gruelling chemotherapy sessions, followed by major surgery to remove almost her entire stomach in July which meant a long road to recovery.

Frances, 70, has struggled with her eating but is now on the road to recovery, with the support of her daughters Helen, Clair, her son Danny and the rest of her family.

Fran wanted a goal to aim towards once she had recovered from an operation and set her sights on taking on the Simplyhealth Great South 5k on Saturday 20 October for charity.

Throughout her treatment and diagnosis, the family relied on Macmillan Cancer Support for advice and support and decided that they wanted to repay them by fundraising during a challenge.

The family will support Macmillan at the 5k in Portsmouth by walking the event together to support Fran to achieve her goal. Fran, who is a carer for her husband, said: “After routine tests following stomach problems, I was diagnosed with stomach cancer in January. The chemotherapy I had was really challenging but I wanted to keep strong for my family.

“I then went through surgery to remove my stomach only months ago. It was a massive impact; everyone is affected when someone is diagnosed with cancer. I have good days and bad days and my eating was naturally affected.

“Through the dark times, Macmillan at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Portsmouth were amazing. They helped me all the way through from my diagnosis to where I am today, which is why I decided to enter the Simplyhealth Great South 5k.

“I know 5k is not a long distance to some but following surgery, I wanted to give myself a goal that was achievable to get me moving and on the road to recovery.

“I am lucky to be a survivor of cancer so I want to ensure I continue with a positive outlook and to give back to a fantastic charity.

“During times like this, you see what kind of network of support you have and I witnessed that for me but also for my family as well. The support kept me going and I believe this has really helped me to beat cancer.”

Fran has been gradually extending her walking distances as training for the Simplyhealth Great South 5k. She will join her family and 1,000 others who will take on a challenge at the event.

Helen, 48, Clair, 45, and Dan, 34, will take part in the event with Fran, who has recently celebrated her 70th Birthday.

Clair said: “Mum really wanted a goal and we felt it was important to support her in a challenge that was achievable. Something she could set her sights on and feel positive about.

Helen added: “It doesn't just affect the person with cancer, it affects the whole family. You go through it together the best way you can.

“Being strong when you're together, and when you're alone letting the tears, the frustration, the anger and the fear come out. We are as a family right now stronger, we feel lucky that we still have our Mum and we take every opportunity to make wonderful memories together.

“It hits you right in your heart, when you hear those words, Mum has cancer! You don't want to believe it, but you have to be strong, you have to fight, you have to be there every day to let her know she can get through it.”

Dan said: “We are the Kirk family, we are strong and we don't give up!”

To support the family's fundraising, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/fran-kirkandfamily

Enter the Simplyhealth Great South 5k at: Greatrun.org/South