Alison Graham sets off on the walk of her life next weekend, to pay back some of the support shown to her as she battle lung cancer.
Alison will be walking the 30km from Carnforth to Glasson Dock, with the aim of raising at least £1,000 for CancerCare.
It’s the least she can do, Alison believes, after the Lancaster charity supported her through her fight against cancer last year.
Alison, 47, was diagnosed with stage 2 lung cancer last October.
“I had had a cough that wouldn’t go,” she said. “I would urge anybody who has had a cough for more than a couple of weeks to see their doctor.”
Alison had an upper lobectomy in her right lung on december 6, removing half of the lung.
“Thankfully I didn’t require any further treatment,” she said. “They got it all in the surgery, I was very lucky.”
Alison was later referred to CancerCare, in Slyne Road, for support following her ordeal.
“I am a mobile hairdresser and I went into the wholesalers on White Lund and the manageress in there said I should go to CancerCare, and I didn’t even know what it was,” she said. “It took me about 48 hours mulling it over and then I just thought ‘why not?’
“But when I got there the first time, I got out of the car and back in again twice and even when I made it to the door I went back to the car again. I just didn’t know what I would say. I didn’t know what I was up against.”
However, once inside the doors, Alison found friendly faces to help her out.
“I spoke to a lovely lady who told me about all the services they offer,” she said. “For the first time since being diagnosed, I actually felt I could offload everything without being judged. Everybody is the same at cancerCare, no matter what cancer you have. Nobody has special treatment, you are all in the same boat.”
Alison now attends weekly counselling sessions at CancerCare, as well as the monthly ‘Windbags’ group specifically for lung cancer patients and survivors. And she now wants to try to pay back some of the kindness shown by the CancerCare team.
“I will never be able to give enough back,” she said. “I just can’t speak highly enough of them.
“I have got to the point where I had to give something back. I needed to do something to say thanks for everything I have had and also to help me move forward.
“I am not going to let cancer beat me. If it comes back I will deal with it but right now I am cancer free and i am going to stay like that for as long as I possibly can.
“I am seeing this as a second chance and I am grabbing it.”
Alison sets off from the Canal Turn pub at Carnforth at 8am on Saturday September 2, walking with her close friend Cathy Williams along the canal towpath to Lancaster, where she will walk through the city centre with a stop-off at the Water Witch pub at around 1pm.
From there the pair will continue along the canal path to the Dalton Arms on Glasson Dock.
Alison added: “I want to give a personal thank you to everybody who has supported me from the start, especially my husband Carl and Cathy, who has been amazing, an absolute rock since I was diagnosed.”
You can donate to Alison’s cause at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/30ktokickcancer or by donating if you spot her along the route in a blue CancerCare t-shirt.