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‘I thought my cancer was a pulled muscle’ – woman battling breast cancer to take on 5km in Weston-super-Mare

PUBLISHED: 18:00 18 June 2017 | UPDATED: 12:46 19 June 2017

Helen Nuttall (centre) with friend Rachel Stafford and ger niece Suzy Pegler. Pircutre: Paul Gillis

Helen Nuttall (centre) with friend Rachel Stafford and ger niece Suzy Pegler. Pircutre: Paul Gillis


A woman who mistakenly believed her cancer was a sporting injury is urging people to sign up to take part in Weston’s Race For Life.

Helen Nuttall is still undergoing chemotherapy treatment for aggressive breast cancer, but will take on the race in Weston on June 28.

Helen was preparing to celebrate her 50th birthday when her life changed, when what she thought was a sporting injury turned out to be cancer.

She has been in training for her first sprint triathlon when she pulled a muscle in her shoulder.

She said: “I left it a few weeks before going to see my GP. I know I shouldn’t have put it off, but I just kept thinking the lump was something to do with pulling my muscle.”

Helen Nuttall (centre) with friend Rachel Stafford and ger niece Suzy Pegler. Pircutre: Paul GillisHelen Nuttall (centre) with friend Rachel Stafford and ger niece Suzy Pegler. Pircutre: Paul Gillis

Helen was referred for a mammogram, a biopsy and an ultrasound. She said: “I had a mammogram a year previous, and it was clear, but it just goes to show the breast cancer was so deep-seated it hadn’t shown up.”

Helen was diagnosed with breast cancer, and spent her birthday in Weston General Hospital. She said: “No celebration drink for me. Just a cocktail of chemotherapy drugs.

“The nurses were really lovely though and we ended up having a real giggle that day.

“Cancer is a traumatic experience but it has really changed my outlook for the better. I feel so blessed I have a fantastic partner and I have the best friends and family in the world.”

Helen is now determined to do something positive and will take on the 5km Race For Life. It will begin on the Beach Lawns at 7.30pm, and is open to all abilities.

Helen said: “I’m taking part in the Race For Life with my sister and nieces because I know the money I’m raising goes towards vital research. Even if by talking about what happened to me helps just one other person then this will have been worthwhile.”

One in two people will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their life, and 90 people in the South West are diagnosed with the disease every day.

Helen is now encouraging others to take on the race with her. Entry is free for children under six, costs £10 for boys aged six to 12, £10 for girls aged six to 15, and £14.99 for anyone else.

Alison Birkett, of Cancer Research UK South West, said: “By taking part in Race For Life, women in Somerset can help raise funds for crucial research and make a real difference in the fight against cancer.”

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