No time for cold feet as Cheshire cancer survivor prepares to walk on fire for charity

Reporter:

Matt Warner

THERE'S no time for cold feet for a Cheshire cancer survivor who is preparing for a hot new challenge.

Magazine editor and mother-of-three Andrea Sheardown will gather some 25friends and family members, including her husband and children, to take part in her first fire walk in support of The Alan Morement Memorial Fund (AMMF), the UK's only charity dedicated to cholangiocarcinoma (bile duct cancer), a rare and frequently lethal liver cancer.

Andrea, a rare bile duct cancer survivor, will be joined by her supporters, “Andrea’s AMMF Army,” as she takes on a fire walking experience at Sandbach Rugby Club on Friday, September 29.

While the September event will mark Andrea’s first attempt at fire walking, this challenging and exhilarating fundraising initiative to raise awareness for the rare cancer follows hard on the heels of her many other major fundraising activities, including the completion of the Three Peaks Challenge.

For 45-year-old Andrea, the act of walking across red-hot embers in her bare feet is not as crazy as it sounds.

She said: “In October 2015, my world was turned upside down when I was diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma, a rare form of cancer which occurs in the bile ducts of the liver. It is known as one of the 'silent killer' cancers, and has one of the worst survival rates of all cancers, as it is difficult to diagnose accurately and early. The incidence of bile duct cancer (cholangiocarcinoma) is increasing year on year throughout the world and more than 2,500 people will be diagnosed with this cancer in the UK in the next year.

“For most, this will be a lethal diagnosis, as fewer than five per cent will survive for 12 months. Initially I was given just weeks to live, but I managed to defy the odds and go on to have major liver surgery in November 2015 to remove the cancer, and this was then followed by a gruelling six month course of chemotherapy. At times I was left feeling very ill and weak and was in and out of hospital, but giving up never entered my head. In many people’s minds, walking across a bed of hot coals burning at temperatures over 600C is dangerous and something that perhaps shouldn't be done but, given everything I have been through, the prospect of fire walking is exhilarating and empowering. In short, if I can do it, anyone can.”

Andrea added: “I am delighted to know so many people are planning to do this with me. I am also incredibly grateful to the rugby club and UK Firewalk, one of the UK's leading firewalk companies, who are supporting us and, of course, to all the other participants and those who have made generous donations to AMMF for my fire walk.”

Andrea is hoping that more people will join her for the fire walk.

Helen Morement, CEO and founder of AMMF, said: “Andrea is one of our most tireless and proactive fundraisers, and we value her inspirational fundraising events. The fire walk, just like many other fundraising initiatives in which she has participated or arranged on her own, go towards helping AMMF in its work totackle this devastating cancer on all fronts, by providing information and support, campaigning to raise awareness, and encouraging and supporting research.

“The fire walk is a statement event and is bound to be very exciting and memorable for everyone, whether they choose to participate or otherwise. And especially because she is a cholangiocarcinoma survivor, Andrea’s efforts play an important part in helping raise awareness about this neglected disease, the incidence of which appears to be increasing across all age groups, including younger people. The cause of this ongoing increase is unknown, so much more research is desperately needed.”

To take part in the firewalk visit www.sandbachrufc.co.uk/news/firewalking-fundraiser-1925828.html or to join “Andrea’s AMMF Army” and to make a donation for Andrea’s fire walk, please visit Andrea’s JustGiving page www.justgiving.com/fundraising/AndreasAMMFArmy

Doors will open at Sandbach Rugby Club located on Bradwall Road, Sandbach, at 6pm, with fire walking to begin at 7.45pm. The event is due to close at 11.30pm.

Email:

matt.warner@nwn.co.uk

See full story in the Chester Leader

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