An inspirational nurse and lecturer is gearing up for the London Marathon this weekend as part of a drive to use her cancer diagnosis as a force for good.
Claire Flatt will take her place in the iconic race on Sunday, just nine months after having her last chemotherapy treatment.
”I’d have treatment on a Thursday and then run on a Saturday”
The lecturer in adult nursing at Birmingham City University was 33 years old when she was diagnosed with both cervical and breast cancer in August 2017.
Following her diagnosis, Ms Flatt decided to set her family and friends, who were struggling to come to terms with the news and were unsure of her how best to support her, a series of charity fundraising challenges.
After undergoing five operations, three types of chemotherapy and two types of radiotherapy in 18 months, Ms Flatt decided she too wanted to get involved.
As a result, she took up running with the ultimate goal of taking part in the 26-mile London Marathon.
So far, Ms Flatt and her family and friends have raised £22,000 for cancer charities including Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support.
They have taken part in more then 50 fundraising activities including triathlons, mud runs, cake sales, pancake challenges, car washes, climbing Snowden and driving days.
Ms Flatt said: “I’ve tried to share my experiences with cancer and as a patient to raise awareness and support others going through this too.”
When Ms Flatt received her diagnosis she was otherwise fit and healthy and went for regular smear tests. Her cancers were unrelated to each other.
“I had my last operation six months ago, and ran my first full 5k without stopping in December,” she said. “When I was having chemo, I’d have treatment on a Thursday and then run the Arrow Valley ParkRun on a Saturday.”
Ms Flatt explained that despite suffering from fatigue, nerve damage and achy joints because of her treatment, she has managed to increase her running distance to 20 miles.
She personally has raised £10,000 for local Macmillan services in Birmingham and the Black Country.
“Every day a staggering 34 people in Birmingham and the Black Country hear the devastating news that they have cancer,” said Ms Flatt. “I hope sharing my story will help give others hope and help them feel less alone in their diagnosis.”
To donate visit Ms Flatt’s JustGiving page and follow her journey on Twitter via #claireschallenge.