A Lancashire mum who lost her dad to cancer will join her young daughter as they pay tribute to him through Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life.
Clare Flanagan, of Eccleston, will have her 11-year-old daughter Mia by her side as she takes part in the 5k event in Preston in memory of her dad - and Mia’s grandad - Colin Green. They will also be joined by some of Mia’s friends from Bishop Rawstorne Church of England Academy in Croston.
This will be Clare’s third Race for Life fund-raiser since her dad died nine years ago.
Colin was a long distance lorry driver, had always been super fit and had no symptoms when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer aged 65.
The father-of-two only found out he was ill when his sister, who worked for a medical research company in Chorley, asked him to volunteer for tests looking at prostate cancer in men his age.
Colin, who lived in Wrightington, was shocked when the initial tests suggested his PSA level was abnormally high and he was urged to book a hospital appointment immediately.
Following further tests and scans, he was found to not only have prostate cancer, but a tumour in his bowel. During the same week, Clare, 44, discovered she was pregnant with her youngest child, Mia.
Colin, who was a well-known character in the community having worked as a compere and singer at Park Hall in the 1960s and 1970s, had surgery to remove the tumour from his bowel.
He also received hormone therapy, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
He retired from work and had formed a special bond with baby Mia after he looked after her once Clare went back to work.
By 2008, Colin had become very poorly and the family were told treatment was no longer an option.
He was initially cared for in a hospice, before moving into his daughter Nicki’s house which had been specially adapted for him. But as his health deteriorated, he had to be admitted to Chorley Hospital.
He died in July 2008 aged 68 – on his grand-daughter Mia’s third birthday.
Clare, a national health and safety advisor, who also has a 14-year-old son called Alex, said: “I was absolutely devastated to lose my dad. Even all these years later, the emotions still feel very raw. Mia and my dad had such an extraordinary bond between them and it was very emotional doing Race for Life with her last year. All the way around the course I think about my dad and what he meant to me. I still miss him every day.
“Race for Life means so much to us a family. We really want to make a difference and stop other families going through the same heartbreak we faced. Research is absolutely the way forward.”
Jane Bullock, Cancer Research UK’s North West spokesman, said: “Life-saving research is being funded thanks to the women taking part in Race for Life.
“Our participants play a crucial role in helping to turn discoveries made in the lab into better treatments for patients in the North West and across the UK and we rely on their incredible commitment to the cause.
“We need women of all ages and abilities to sign up. It’s the taking part that counts whatever women raise. Just £10 could make a difference in the fight against cancer.”
Money raised through Race for Life helps to make long-term research and pioneering trials possible, leading to new tests, kinder treatments and cures, which could save the lives of more people across the North West.
Jane continued: “Sadly, most of us know someone like Clare whose life has been touched by cancer. By taking part in Race for Life women in Preston could help more me, women and children survive the disease. Our aim is that one day everyone will beat cancer.
“The more women who Race for Life, the sooner that day will come.”