A WOMAN is rousing support for the Race for Life by getting people into a fitness regime.
Jane Mann, 53, who won her own battle with cervical cancer 20 years ago, will lead the ‘Cancer Slam’ at Eagles Meadow shopping centre in Wrexham on Friday.
The grandmother and diet and fitness instructor from Chester will lead a fun and energetic fitness routine to upbeat music at Eagles Meadow to encourage women to get involved in the Race for Life 5k event at Alyn Waters Country Park, near Wrexham, on Sunday, June 8.
She will also chat to shoppers and hand out information leaflets.
Mrs Mann recalled how her own painful fight with cancer, which led to a full hysterectomy, made her determined to make a difference.
“I was devastated. For me it was a double hammer because obviously it’s a life-threatening disease and I had a child to look after and I was single.
“But at the same time I was challenged with the prospect of not having any more children, and that was devastating as well.
“That was as much of a challenge for me as a woman at that age, as I’m sure it is for ladies who have to have mastectomies and things like that. It is part of your identity. It is your womanhood. It’s who you are.
“I was lying in my hospital bed after the operation and a friend of mine came in and said: ‘Why don’t you run the London Marathon?’
“I was just sitting there all wired up and recovering from a major operation. But then I started thinking – ‘that’s quite a good idea’ and that I needed something to focus on, something to take my mind off of what’s happened.
“So, a bit like Forrest Gump, I got up out of bed and started running.
“I was angry, so I needed something to get it out my system.”
Six months later, in April 1992, brave Jane was running her first London Marathon.
Proud husband David Mann, 65, a former Major in the army, was diagnosed with prostate cancer last year.
He said: “Jane is an inspiration to me on many fronts – but most especially this one.
“Before we were married, she had invited me to come and help at Race for Life.
“I just remember seeing her inspiring ladies as they crossed the finishing line.
“I thought I had been in an environment where motivation and inspiration was important in the forces. But I was charmed, bowled over and inspired from what I saw in Jane’s ability to connect – with women especially – and encourage them.
“She’s been a leading light for me, a star actually. Not only to help me through a challenging illness but also in day-to-day life.”
Money raised through Race for Life allows Cancer Research UK’s doctors, nurses and scientists to advance research which is helping to save the lives of men, women and children across Wales.
Liz Booth, their Wrexham events manager, said: “We’re very grateful to Eagles Meadow shopping centre for offering the space.
“It allows us to get into the centre of the community to talk to the people of Wrexham. It is where the people are.
“Race for Life is non-competitive. It’s not about being fit or fast.
“Most women are able to walk 5k in an hour while chatting and having fun. Or they can choose to jog, run or even dance around the course if they prefer.”
To enter Race for Life Wrexham go to www.raceforlife.org or call 0845 6006050.