RUNNING helped a Southwick woman deal with her mother’s terminal ovarian cancer diagnosis.
Now, she is using her training to help raise money for ground-breaking research into the five gynaecological cancers.
Mother-of-two Katie Cockerill will be running the Brighton Marathon in honour of her mum, Nicole Priest, who is in a form of remission, but her diagnosis is terminal.
The 28-year-old will be raising money for the Eve Appeal, while fighting problems of her own, having been fitted with a bionic shoulder.
Katie had major surgery on her broken collarbone in December, where half of it was replaced with a metal plate, and has been training with one arm strapped down.
“I have learned to run with one arm – now I’ve got to learn to use it again,” she said.
“It was a big operation to correct a broken collarbone, which I have lived with for six years, but I was determined it would not stop me entering this year as I’m doing it for my mum.”
When her mum was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in October, 2011, at the age of 49, Katie took up running every night to keep a clear head.
She has since run three marathons and in April, will take on her fourth Brighton Marathon.
The determined mum, who works as an administrator for public service provider A4e in Brighton, started her training with one arm strapped down while her surgery injury healed and is now trying to regain use of it after a month out of action.
She said: “When I’m running, my head clears and I feel like I can put that day behind me and prepare myself for the next one.”
She said her whole life fell apart when her mum was diagnosed with cancer, after Nicole’s swollen belly was originally misdiagnosed as pancreatitis.
As is so often with the type of cancer, by the time Nicole was correctly diagnosed, it was too late. She was given a hysterectomy and has had a series of courses of aggressive chemotherapy to fight the spread.
Katie said: “My way of dealing with it was to start running. I took time out to look after Mum and I have two young children so it is difficult to get any head space at home.”
Her first Brighton Marathon in April 2011 was a shock to the system but she was soon back to pounding the streets and stepped it up to a daily routine when her mum fell ill.
“I have never known pain like it,” she said. “It took me ages before I could even walk again. I wasn’t properly prepared. I swore off running forever.”
Cancer still affects everything they do and the terminal diagnosis showed how precious life can be, she added.
“That is why, despite my recent operation and my new bionic shoulder, I’m still running the marathon. I know just important it is to make every step count in life.”
Last year, Katie raised £875 for Cancer Research, running alongside her sister and completing the Brighton Marathon in just over five hours.
Work colleagues at A4e, which helps the long-term unemployed overcome barriers to get back into work, are sponsoring her.
Visit www.justgiving.com/Katie-Cockerill1 to donate.