MOST people struggle to get outdoors for a run even in the best of health.

But for Chester charity worker Caroline Allkins, pounding the pavement became a mission despite being in the poorest health of her life.

From diagnosis to the day she underwent a left side mastectomy, the breast cancer survivor took to the roads around her home to show cancer who’s boss.

“You can’t control what cancer does to you but I wanted to take control of what I could,” said Caroline, 45 who is a deaf interpreter for city-based Deafness Support Network (DSN).

“I have always been into fitness and exercise and I knew that if I kept moving every day, no matter what it was, would help keep my focus - and my sanity - and it really, really did.”

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Loving daughter Beth at her side at this summer's Race for Life.

The dedicated mum-of-two came straight out of surgery to have her breast removed and with drains hanging down from her chest, still managed to walk several kilometres each day.

Then followed chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Caroline said: “The doctors told me that the chemo would be best delivered through a PICC line (long-term intravenous catheter) but they said I would be 12 weeks with no exercise or running, so I chose to have the chemotherapy through my veins instead as I didn’t want to stop moving.

“This has caused irreparable damage but I knew that running would allow me to keep concentrated through my treatment and I just knew it was the right thing for me.”

Caroline sadly lost her mother to breast cancer in 2005 and has taken part in the Race For Life ever since.

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With her hair back and her confidence shining Caroline took on the Whistle Stop Tour, Wirral alongside Roger most recently.

A keen gym-goer, she ran her first half marathon in 2009 at Oulton Park and has since completed several half marathons and one marathon in Chester alongside friends and her loving husband Roger.

After applying for the London Marathon for several years via ballot, Caroline was never lucky enough to get chosen, until the year after she was diagnosed in 2017 meaning she couldn’t run in the following April 2018, this year.

“It was such a blow,” she said. “After all that time of waiting, I was going through treatment and an upcoming breast reconstruction when the news came through and that real goal to get to London just felt really snatched away.

“But there is an option to defer and I knew that it was my target to get well from breast cancer.”

She deferred and while her hair and her confidence have grown back, this coming year she will take on the run of her life.

“It’s a great achievement for me to go to London and run in the race I have dreamed of,” she said. “Even though I had a positive mindset I didn’t always know I would get there. Running really helped me to keep well throughout my treatment and I never missed a chemotherapy treatment, but I did have dark days.

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Caroline (Left) with friends and loving husband Roger at her side at the Chester Half Marathon before her diagnosis.

“No one tells you what it will be like when you have cancer and things you think. It’s incredibly hard both mentally and physically. I really don’t know where I would have been without my husband who is my rock, my two wonderful kids, all my friends and of course my colleagues at DSN. The staff at, Clatterbridge Breast Care, Clatterbridge Oncology and Whiston Hospital were also outstanding throughout - I owe my life to them and my running shoes!”

In April 2019, Caroline will also be celebrating another special milestone. As the daughter of two deaf parents, Caroline has dedicated her life to become a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter and will mark her 25th year at Deafness Support Network in April 2019.

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Caroline pre-diagnosis on the Sydney Harbour Bridge with her family.

When she’s not running around her local area in Heswall, Wirral, Caroline assists people from every walk of life; from birth right through to funerals and is privileged to be interpreting for the Deaf community in all manner of situations, including hospital appointments, work training and even exercise classes. She will run the London Marathon on April 28, 2019, to raise funds for DSN.

She said: “The team have been so wonderfully supportive throughout the whole of this period of time and it’s been such an honour to be part of the charity for so long - it felt fitting to raise money for the charity that has given me so much personally and professionally too.”

If you’d like to sponsor Caroline in the London Marathon, go to To find out more about DSN go to

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Daughter Beth with her mum at the Race For Life in 2017 during treatment.