A TEACHING assistant from Chester who survived cancer is urging others to join her at Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life in the city.

Juana Marti Nieto, from Upton, stands proudly with a sign declaring her personal motivations for taking part.

This year, for the first time, the national charity is inviting everyone – women, men and children – to join in.

Race for Life, in partnership with Tesco, is a series of 5k, 10k, Pretty Muddy and Pretty Muddy Kids events which raise millions of pounds every year to help beat cancer by funding crucial research.

Mum-of-two Juana, 53, moved to Chester from Menorca in Spain 24 years ago. When she lost a lot of weight in 2016, she put it down to stress.

She had become aware of a lump near her windpipe, but as it wasn’t at all painful and she was so busy, she wasn’t initially concerned.

However, when she sent a video of it to a nurse friend, the friend urged her to go to the doctor immediately. As the problem wasn’t classed as urgent, Juana faced a while for a scan.

Following a biopsy at hospital, Juana was warned that “suspicious cells” had been found and she would need surgery to have the lump removed. After the surgery, initial tests on the tissue proved inconclusive and a sample had to be sent to an expert team at The University of Liverpool with the final results coming back three weeks later.

Juana was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and had to have further surgery to entirely remove the thyroid. When she had recovered from the surgery, she was given radioactive iodine treatment, which can be used for thyroid cancer.

This treatment involved having to be isolated in a hospital room due to the fact it makes the patient slightly radioactive for a short while. It was a difficult time for Juana as her youngest daughter wasn’t allowed to see her while she was waiting for the radioactivity to subside.

Juana now has an annual scan and remains cancer free. She knows only too well how devastating the effects of the disease can be, having lost her dad to lung cancer and a sister to stomach cancer.

Her eldest daughter teaches English in Menorca and her youngest daughter is studying a dance degree in London.

She said: “Taking part in Race for Life is a wonderful and emotional experience. Nothing prepares you for a cancer diagnosis, it was such a shock. But reading everyone’s back-signs at Race for Life makes you aware of just how many other people are still fighting or have successfully overcome cancer.

“Together, we can help beat this devastating disease and I want to encourage as many people as possible to join the fight and sign up to the Race for Life.”

One in two people in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer, at some point during their lifetime, but the good news is more people are surviving the disease now than ever before. Cancer survival in the UK has doubled since the early 1970s and Cancer Research UK’s work has been at the heart of that progress.

Cancer Research UK Cheshire spokeswoman, Jane Bullock, said: “We’re urging mums, dads, nans, grandpas, brothers, sisters, friends and workmates to show their support by joining the Race for Life. It’s a perfect example of everyday people doing an extraordinary thing – uniting in a common cause to beat cancer.

“We encourage our participants to help raise money in what every way they like – there are lots of ideas on the Race for Life website.”

Race for Life 5k will be held at Chester Racecourse on Sunday July 7.

Cancer Research UK’s life-saving work relies on the public’s support. Thanks to the generosity of its supporters, the charity was able to spend over £28 million last year in the North West on some of the UK’s leading scientific and clinical research.

To enter Race for Life today visit


or call 0300 123 0770.