A netball team leader aims to tackle an obstacle course for a charity which will help women follow in her footsteps and beat breast cancer.
Heather Buckle was diagnosed with the disease in 2011 after she found a lump in her right breast.
The 52-year-old from Old Shotton, Peterlee, detected it while it was in its early stages and a lumpectomy was scheduled quickly.
At the same time Heather, who was in the RAF for 24 years and was based at RAF Kinless in Morayshire, had 20 lymph nodes removed after one of them tested positive for cancer, indicating it had started to spread.
The netball development officer at England Netball underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy and continued to run and play the game during the first half of her treatment, but then it began to take its toll and she experienced severe fatigue.
Now recovered, she is rounding up her teammates to take part in the Race for Life Pretty Muddy when the events makes its first visit to Riverside Park in Chester-le-Street on Saturday, June 24.
I have no doubt that I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the research carried out into cancer.Heather Buckle
It is a women-only non-competitive 5k obstacle course - helped along with an extra smattering of mud.
Heather, who coaches Meadowfield Ladies Club, said: “I have no doubt that I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the research carried out into cancer.
“Thanks to research I was able to beat cancer and show that it doesn’t have to be a death sentence.
“Now I’m able to live life to the full and do something that I love.
“Meadowfield Ladies Club and England Netball are determined to support others by raising money for Cancer Research UK and help more people like me survive
“Just like our amateur Back to Netball leagues across the North East, Pretty Muddy is a great way for ladies to get fit and have fun at the same time as getting as messy as possible.
“We’ve all loved and lost people to cancer, so we’re determined to fight back.”
Money raised through Pretty Muddy will help Cancer Research UK scientists find new ways to treat cancer and save more lives.
Claire Wase, Cancer Research UK’s event manager, said: “We’re so excited to bring Race for Life Pretty Muddy to Chester-Le-Street for the very first time.
“We’re calling on local ladies to limber up and muck in to make it a huge success.
“We’ve no doubt that they’ve got the muddy motivation to take on the challenge and help beat cancer sooner.
“Pretty Muddy has all the fun and camaraderie of our much loved 5k events - but with added mud, thrills and spills.
“It’s the perfect challenge for those looking to commit to get more active.”
To enter Race for Life today go to raceforlife.org or call 0300 123 0770.