Wensleydale women take on muddy run in support of friend with cancer

A group of Wensleydale women is coming together to raise money for Cancer Research in support of their friend who has been diagnosed with cancer.

Melly’s Angels will take on the 5k Pretty Muddy charity run in Middlesbrough today.

Deb, Siobhan, Emma, Rachel, Helene and Jaz are aiming to complete the challenge in support of their friend, Mel Cooper, who was diagnosed with kidney cancer last October.

Mel said: “I’d been feeling unwell for much of last year, mostly tiredness and I needed to take naps during the day, but also terrible night sweats.

“I put these down to my age and asked for my HRT to be changed. Nothing seemed to improve things.

“Then in late October I started to pee blood. Over then next few days, the bleeding turned to clots and then a blockage mean it was time for A&E.

“After a few hours and various tests including a CT scan, I was told there was a mass on one of my native kidneys (I had a transplant in 2014).

“Three days later my kidney was removed along with a large tumour. In December I was told that the tumour was stage 3 Renal Cell Cancer, but that it had all been removed.

“I would have a follow-up scan in three months. Then I received the most devastating news. The scan results confirmed that the cancer had returned at the primary site and spread to my lungs and some lymph nodes.

“I was now stage 4, grade 9, and the cancer was incurable. I can’t describe what I felt but it was one of the worst moments of my life, having to tell family and friends was unbearable.

“I was offered palliative treatment I started chemo tablets about a week later. After two months I had another CT scan to check if the chemo medication was working. It was. All of the tumours have reduced, two of them by two-thirds, which is so much better than we could have dreamed.”

However, the transplanted kidney was struggling to cope with the high dose so after a month off treatment, Mel started again on a lower dose and is now keeping her fingers crossed this will continue to keep the cancer in check.

Melanie Cooper.

Kidney Cancer is the seventh most common cancer in the UK.

Mel added: “I didn’t know the symptoms I was having were so serious. Like so many things, awareness is key and early diagnosis can make the difference between full recovery and being offered palliative care.

“Kidney Cancer UK are a fantastic charity which as well as supporting research into the disease, campaigns to raise awareness.

“I had a fundraiser rather than gifts for my 50th birthday back in May, the generosity of my family and friends meant we donated £1,300 to the charity, plus we had a great time.

“Please familiarise yourself with the five most common symptoms of kidney cancer, which are pain in the back or flank, fatigue, blood in urine, night sweats, and weight loss.

“My hope is that others will remember reading these symptoms and one day get an early diagnosis and full recovery for themselves or a loved one.

Siobhan, a member of Melly’s Angels, said: “Choosing Pretty Muddy Race For Life, gave us as a group of friends, the chance to come together, have fun and most importantly, support our great friend and fellow mum, Mel, who is courageously battling cancer.

“Melly’s Angels were created to not only offer our love & solidarity to her, but raise vital funds to help our Melly and all the many others who are currently undergoing treatment and who are courageously fighting.

“Our message is ‘kick cancer’s arse, Mel. We love you!”

Donations towards the group’s run can be made at https://fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/team/mellys-angels

The team has thanked Cheryl Woodman of Design & Stitch, Bedale, for donating the team t-shirts.

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