Daughter's shock cancer diagnosis after mum signs up for London Marathon
7:00am Friday 22nd February 2013 in News
A Falmouth mum of three signed up to run the London Marathon in aid of a children’s cancer charity, unaware that her own daughter was about to be diagnosed with a tumour.
Michelle Bray was accepted to run the marathon on behalf of CLIC Sargent in January after initially being refused entry and just a week later it was revealed that her 17-year-old daughter, Sasha, had cancer of the liver.
The cancer was only detected after Sasha, who is studying hairdressing at Cornwall College, contracted glandular fever and had a scan because her spleen was enlarged.
“The timing is ironic,” said Michelle. “We are up and down with it. Originally it was like we had been shoved in a deep, dark hole and we were pulling all our family and friends into this dark place. I got my head around it a little bit and then would have a complete meltdown again.”
Sasha celebrated her 17th birthday on February 2 and only three days was told the devastating news following her scan at Royal Cornwall Hospital.
A trip to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth followed where it was decided surgery was the best option. The family are waiting to hear when the first of several operations will take place.
The teenager, who works part-time at Asda, has to have half her liver removed and then further procedures to deal with clusters on both lungs. The form of cancer she has is rare, affecting only one in 200 people.
Despite the trauma the family are going through, it was decided Michelle should still go ahead with the marathon. “We felt after a while it would still be a good thing to do, considering the circumstances,” said Michelle, 42, who also works at Asda.
“Sasha’s courage through this has given me the determination to do it. It gives the family as a whole a different goal. It is giving us the determination to raise as much as we can for CLIC Sargent.”
Michelle’s partner, Chris Watson, and their three daughters, Sasha, Ria, 13 and Keita, 11, will all hopefully be in London cheering her and her running partner, cousin Natalie George, on from the sidelines on April 21.
By signing up with CLIC Sargent, Michelle has pledged to raise a minimum of £1,800 and thanks to a friend has already made a flying start. Leah Blakeston set up a Justgiving page on Saturday and within three days £995 had already been donated.
Anyone who would like to help Michelle reach her target can make a donation by visiting www.justgiving.com/michelle-bray.