Friends and supporters of a University of Manchester student midwife diagnosed with a rare type of cancer will challenge themselves to help raise money for charity at a five kilometre run in Media City later this week (August 31).
Earlier this year, Claudia Boardman, 22, received the devastating news she had Rhabdomyosarcoma, a soft tissue cancer, which can appear in any part of the body.
The diagnosis followed her having back pain for six months which culminated in losing the feeling in the lower part of her body.
A visit to A&E revealed a large tumour on her spine, which was pressing against her spinal cord and chest.
She was immediately transferred to a different hospital where she had emergency surgery to have part of the tumour removed.
The operation was successful, but a biopsy revealed the tumour was a rhabdomyosarcoma.
Claudia, who at the time of her diagnosis was in her final year of a midwifery course had to make the difficult decision to interrupt her studies to receive extensive treatment for the illness.
Claudia said: “I chose midwifery because I always wanted to do a rewarding job supporting and empowering women, and what better way to do that than helping bring life into the world.
"Being diagnosed with cancer meant I had to interrupt my university course and my world has been turned completely upside down.
“I started treatment in March and lost all of my hair just two weeks after starting treatment."
Her friend and fellow student Katie Needham said: “As Claudia’s peers, we were all shocked and upset that she was having to leave the course indefinitely.
“It has been difficult knowing that her and her family were faced with so many operations and appointments, however, organising the race has given us something to focus on and do something positive both for Claudia and Sarcoma UK.”
She added: “Any donation, no matter how small would be appreciated as a show of support to Claudia and her amazing family.”
According to the medical statistics, on average, just 112 cases of rhabdomyosarcoma are diagnosed every year in England, and now, Claudia is having nine rounds of intense chemotherapy, more major surgery to remove the rest of the tumour and radiotherapy. She will eventually need more chemotherapy following the treatment.
Louisa Morgan, events manager at Sarcoma UK, said: “We would like to say a huge thank you to Katie, Claudia and their peers at the University of Manchester for taking on this challenge.
“The money raised by Katie and the team will help us to fund vital research to improve outcomes for everyone affected by sarcoma.”
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