Mum Sets North 10K In Her Sights After Cancer Battle

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Entries for the Simplyhealth Great North 10k remain open. Enter at:

A mum-of-three who was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer has vowed to make a return to running after she was given the all-clear.

Debbie Conley, from Wylam in Northumberland, was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer in December 2015, when she found a lump just before Christmas.

Debbie, a keen runner, was left reeling as she was forced to put her newly bought trainers away in the cupboard, as she prepared to embark on a gruelling treatment programme.

But Debbie vowed to beat the disease and said to her partner David, that she would return to running and complete the Simplyhealth Great North Run the following year.

After undergoing chemotherapy, a mastectomy and then radiotherapy, Debbie’s active treatment finished in July last year and she had injections every three weeks until this April.

One year on, Debbie kept her promise and signed up to the world’s biggest half marathon which takes place in September. As part of her training, she will also take on the Simplyhealth Great North 10k, when it returns to Gateshead on Sunday 9 July.

She is taking on the North East’s biggest 10k to raise money for Breast Cancer Care, who she was supported by during her treatment.

Debbie, 44, said: “I was diagnosed with the cancer in 2015, just before Christmas and at first I was devastated and I was dreading starting my treatment in the New Year but I knew I had to be strong and I found the strength through the help of my friends and family.

“I am quite an active person, I ran lots and to be told something like having stage three breast cancer was a huge shock as I knew my lifestyle was going to change under treatment.

“A turning point for me was looking at the brand new trainers I had bought and as I went to put them in the cupboard, I vowed I would return to running stronger and more determined than ever when I had beaten cancer.

“Through my chemotherapy I tried to exercise where I could but it became quite difficult as the treatment took its toll. “I was so determined that I was going to take part in both runs that I signed up in January.”

Debbie will join 5,000 others for the Simplyhealth Great North 10k, which features a scenic 10k route along the NewcastleGateshead Quayside.

Runners pass the likes of the Gateshead Millennium Bridge, Sage Gateshead and the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art before heading up to Gateshead International Stadium and finishing on the iconic track.

The event is the official training run for the Simplyhealth Great North Run, the world’s biggest half marathon that takes place in September. Debbie will take on both events to mark her return to running and will be supporting Breast Cancer Care, after she used their forums to chat to other people who were living with cancer and found support from the conversations.

Debbie, who is a full time mum to seven-year-old Aidan and five-year-old twins Erin and Lewis, added: “I was determined to get back into running but I thought it is important to also recognise the hard work that Breast Cancer Care put in to supporting me.

“The staff who treated me at Hexham Hospital and the Newcastle Freeman Hospital were also amazing and I am so grateful to them.

“I thought taking on a huge running challenge such as a 10k and a half marathon would be the perfect opportunity to make my return.

“The Simplyhealth Great North 10k is a great incentive for me as I know if I can do that I am on the right track to taking part in a half marathon.

“My training has been up and down but doing something like this for a charity that is very close to my heart is keeping me going.”

To support Debbie’s fundraising, click here.

Entries for the Simplyhealth Great North 10k remain open. Enter at: