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A grandmother who was diagnosed with skin cancer and had her stomach cut side to side to remove it is set to take on a year of running challenges to celebrate being clear of the disease.

Dawn Hunter, from Dunfermline in Fife, was diagnosed with Malignant Melanoma ten years ago, which was located on her naval.

The aggressive nature of the skin cancer meant hat she had to undergo two major surgeries to remove it and extend the area that it could have spread to.

In May 2008, she underwent her first operation to remove the melanoma where she was cut from side to side, completely removing her belly button.

Dawn's recovery was long and painstaking, which left her unable to walk or bend down while she got over both operations.

Thankfully in 2013, she received the news that she had been given the all clear from the cancer and decided to take a new outlook on her life.

She has raised over £20,000 for various charities since receiving the news that she had cancer and hopes to take on her biggest challenge yet in 2018 to mark 10 years since her diagnosis.

To mark her milestone, Dawn intends to take on a variety of running and walking challenges, starting with the Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh Winter Run on Saturday 13 January.

She will then take part in nine other challenges, culminating in tackling Kilimanjaro, Africa's biggest mountain.

Dawn, 48, said: “In May of 2018 I was diagnosed with Malignant Melanoma. I underwent 2 major surgeries to – the first to remove the melanoma and the second to extend the area.

“As a mother and grandmother, being told that you have the C word is terrifying but nothing prepared me for being diagnosed with malignant melanoma, a type that you hear about as being so aggressive.

“I went through the first operation in May and the second in the August that year and I was cut completely from one side of my stomach to the other.

“Because the cancer was on my belly button it meant that I had to lose that during the surgery.

“My recovery took a long time both physically and mentally. I was completely floored. Getting out of bed was hard enough and climbing the stairs or something similar was just impossible for a long time while I recovered.

“After the operation and getting the all-clear, my life and how I perceived it changed dramatically.

“I didn't want to take anything for granted so I gave up the job that was making me unhappy and began to really live.

“The diagnosis made me wake up and smell the roses and realize that people should live life to the best of your ability. “I have never been a runner but I decided that I wanted to do something positive in my life and so I took on five challenges for charity.

“To mark my 10th year anniversary, I decided to go one further and take on 10 challenges.

“2018 is my 10 year milestone & I feel like what better way to mark it than to take on challenges, starting with the Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh Winter Run.

“For me, if nothing else, it's to show myself that if you put your mind to it & have enough determination you can face & take on any challenge, whether it be an illness or run.”

Dawn will join 3,000 people to kick start their New Year at the Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh Winter Run.

Participants take on a 5k course which starts and finishes in Holyrood Park and travels up the iconic Arthur's Seat, offering beautiful views of the city of Edinburgh.

The event is also followed by the Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh XCountry where some of the world's best athletes take part in a challenging multi terrain course.

After completing the 5k, Dawn will go on to run the Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run half marathon in September, run a marathon, as well as climb Mount Snowdon, Ben Nevis and Kilimanjaro.

She added: I am by no means an athlete and all of these challenge are way outside of my comfort zone. “I have been given a second chance and I really want to make something of it.

“For me, taking on challenges like this makes me feel so alive and keeps me feeling very positive.

“This month I am going to have my 17th mole removed as a precaution but the challenges I take on keep me positive and looking forward to the future.”

To enter the Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh Winter Run visit: