INSPIRATIONAL Cathy Bowey is proof there is life after cancer.
In October 2000, she was diagnosed with a very aggressive cancer after doctors discovered a tumour in her shinbone.
Cathy, now 61, was diagnosed with a malignant fibrous histiocytoma, which she says few people have survived.
Medics at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital removed the piece of bone that contained the tumour and she was fitted with a metal implant and artifical knee joint.
She said she had about nine-and-a-half years without any problems, but then part of the implant came loose.
Then Cathy, who had to take early retirement from her medical receptionist job, said she suffered “abcess after abcess” and “infection after infection”.
It was two years before medics decided to pencil her in for a revision operation.
But she suffered complications and what should have been a two-part procedure ended up a being done in five instalments, after she failed to heal properly.
In January last year she had another operation, where she had another implant inserted.
But after getting back on her feet, she suffered excruciating pain, which she said felt as bad has having a broken leg.
Then medics advised that an amputation was the best option.
“I said ‘I didn’t lose my leg all those years ago and I’m not going to lose it now’,” said Cathy, who is mum to Sean, 36, Stephanie, 31, and twins Matthew and Robert, 29.
But in the end, she agreed that her leg must come off.
But over the months of suffering excrutiating pain, Cathy began to pile on the pounds, as she could not go anywhere having to spend a year in a plaster cast before her amputation and turned to biscuits and chocolate for comfort.
However after seeing a Slimming World poster in her home village of Thornley, she decided to sign up.
She has lost two-and-a-half stone in six months and slimmed from Size 20 on the top to Size 16 and from Size 18 bottoms to Size 14.
She has gone from 14 stone 12lbs to 12st 5lbs.
Inspirational Cathy joined a group of 45 others including members of Wheatley Hill and Trimdon-based Slimming World groups after slimming instructor Katie Nichol, 31, formerly of Hartlepool and now of Wingate, organised a Race for Life-style walk, from Wingate’s Front Street, to Asda in Peterlee, in aid of Cancer Research UK.
They have lost more than 40 stone between them.
Cathy did some of the walk with her artificial leg and used her wheelchair when she got tired.
Grandmother-of-four Cathy said: “It was absolutely brilliant.
“The children who took part were marvellous and Beth Dalton and Emma Williams laughed and giggled with me along the way.
“Katie is a real inspiration and a real example.
“I’m one of the lucky ones, because 98 per cent of people who have had the tumour that I had don’t survive.
“It’s been pretty horrific, but I have lived to tell the tale.”
Katie said: “We raised £500 from the day.
“I’m so proud of all my slimmers for making such a fantastic effort.”
There is still time to sponsor the group, at www.justgiving.com/Katie-Nichol