INSPIRATIONAL. That was the description given to a brave woman who completed the Race For Life despite her own ongoing fight against cancer.
Deb Howarth was one of nearly 1,500 runners to turn Seaton Carew into a sea of pink to raise money for Cancer Research.
Each fought the winds and a five kilometre course. On a day filled with raw emotion, many ran in memory of loved ones.
There were tears and hugs as each completed the distance, raising more than £65,000 for charity.
But few had a more remarkable story than Deb, 43, of Danby Grove in Seaton Carew, who is still receiving chemotherapy for the breast cancer she was first diagnosed with in January. Since then, she’s had a mastectomy, and 18 weeks of treatment. Her last gruelling course of chemotherapy will happen this Wednesday.
Yet despite her own battle, and losing her own mum Isobel Howarth, 61, to ovarian cancer in 2004, Deb kept going. She even managed to keep up her passion of zumba dancing as she fought cancer.
“I have just got on with things,” said Deb, mum to 20-year-old Ben Atherton.
She described her diagnosis of cancer as “devastating” but the carer with the Comfort Call organisation admitted: “It is friends and family who have got me through. I couldn’t have done it without them.
“We had a good laugh as we went round.”
She and six friends from the same zumba class completed the Race for Life course.
Her dance teacher Christine Patten, of Zumba Crazy in Hartlepool, said: “I can’t believe how amazing she is. She is the most inspirational woman I have met in my life.
“She is still doing chemotherapy yet she does zumba, and she has come out and run this. She deserves the biggest medal of all.”
Deb’s story was one of 1,500 truly inspirational tales. There were mums, grandmums, aunts, sisters and daughters all running for worthy causes.
Claire Wase, the senior area event manager for Cancer Research, said: “Everyone has a story to tell and they are all inspiring The most important thing is that we have raised thousands of pounds to continue the fight against more than 200 forms of cancer and without this support, that could not happen.”