A mum from Sheffield marked the end of her cancer treatment this July after being diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in 2014.
After a turbulent year, fitness enthusiast, Claire Cologne decided to take on a mammoth trek over the Alps in a bid to raise money for the Cancer Charity whilst achieving a personal goal.
In October 2014, Claire received the devastating diagnosis that she had an aggressive and rare form of breast cancer. She went on to receive chemotherapy treatment followed by 2 surgeries and radiotherapy at Weston Park Hospital.
But although feeling unwell at times, and being admitted as an inpatient on 2 occasions over Christmas and Easter, Claire was adamant that she would get back to leading an active lifestyle - even if it meant running to and from her treatment sessions.
“The last two years have been incredibly difficult, “said Claire, “Not only have I had to stay strong for my 2 kids and husband, but also cope with the change in lifestyle due to the side effects of my treatment.”
“I’ve always been an active person and as soon as I started to regain some energy and strength back after treatment I knew I needed something to focus my mind on during recovery. It started with me running to and from my Radiotherapy appointments, which seemed crazy at the time, but gradually I became stronger and learnt how to exercise and manage my fatigue at the same time.”
“As a keen walker, The Haute Route Glacier trek is a challenge which I have always wanted to complete and it seemed a perfect fit at the time, as I planned to do it a year on from my final Radiotherapy session at Weston Park Hospital.”
“I wanted something to really test my limits and prove that cancer wasn't going to get in the way of me living my life to the full.”
Through a Challenge Cancer Through Adventure initiative Claire signed up to complete the 7 day Haute Route Glacier Trek which is a high level trail through the French and Swiss Alps, from Chamonix in the West to Zermatt in the East.
Each day, Claire ascended steep snow, ice and rock to reach high cols and summits, including the Pigne d’Arolla, at 3,796m. She stayed in basic mountain huts and despite some very early starts of between 4am and 2:30am each day, managed to complete each day without being too tired.
Claire, who now attends regular follow up appointments at Weston Park Hospital, has raised over £1,000 for the cancer charity and has plans to undertake further fundraising events in the future.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK with 1 in 8 women and 1 in 870 men expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime. The incidence of breast cancer in our network of 1.8 million is around 1500 cases per year.
The cancer charity is proud to invest in research projects which hope to improve the treatment of breast cancers, not just locally, but worldwide. In total, the charity has contributed to more than 150 clinical trials in breast cancer including many thousands of patients.
Currently, the charity is investing into a number of projects in conjunction with The University of Sheffield including investigating certain proteins which aids the growth of breast cancer cells and identifying more efficiently the metastasis of breast cancer into the bone.
This year, the cancer charity is encouraging people from across the region to join its dedicated ‘Walk & Raise’ team by taking on a walk whilst raising sponsorship to support the work of Weston Park Hospital.
Charity Community Fundraiser, Jade Hearsum said, “Claire is a real inspiration and has completed such a brave challenge just 1 year on from treatment.”
“We are very proud and thankful to Claire for raising such a fantastic amount for the cancer charity which will help fund innovative research, treatment and care for over 18,000 cancer patients in the region.”
“Not only is walking a great way of keeping fit- it can also be an opportunity to achieve personal goals as Claire has shown.”
To find out more about taking on a walk or trek for the Cancer Charity visit: www.walkandraise.org.uk