Gallery: Friends take on assault course challenge

WHEN Sanchia Holmes discovered a lump underneath her armpit it never crossed her mind that it was potentially life threatening.

WHEN Sanchia Holmes discovered a lump underneath her armpit it never crossed her mind that it was potentially life threatening.

But just a few weeks later the 39-year-old had been diagnosed with breast cancer and was told it had also spread to her lung, liver and spine.

Following a gruelling course of chemotherapy these secondary tumours now seem to have disappeared but she is due to have a breast removed next Thursday in a bid to beat the condition once and for all.

Yesterday her friends and family took part in the Whole Hog charity assault course at Wantisden Hall, near Woodbridge, to raise money for Breast Cancer Care and Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

About 200 people took part in the 8 mile assault course, each raising money for a chosen charity.

Miss Holmes is extremely grateful for their support through what has been a very difficult time - although she knows there is still a long way to go.

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“I first noticed a lump when I came back off holiday from Thailand in April,” Miss Holmes told the EADT. “I'd had several glands come up before so I wasn't really too bothered at first.

“It was only when it started to get tender that I decided to get it checked out. By June 13 I had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

“It turned my whole life upside down. The GP said I would be very busy being ill and they were right - it's been test after test and is very hard going.

“One of the most traumatic things was losing all my hair. It's not so bad now that it has gone but when it was falling out I found it very difficult - it's a confidence thing as much as anything else.

“It's mentally as well as physically tiring. However you have to keep up beat and positive - that's half the battle. It's so easy to just give in but you've got to keep a brave face.”

Miss Holmes, who works as an IT trainer at St Clements Hospital in Ipswich, has had six courses of chemotherapy and will have to have more once her breast is removed.

“It's still going to be a long haul and the doctors have said it will probably be a year or so but I'm hoping to go back to work next spring,” she said. “What has struck me most is how common breast cancer is - I couldn't believe how many people it effects. Anyone who finds a lump in their breast should get it checked straightaway because it can come on so quickly.

“I just want to make other people aware - it could happen to anyone. I never thought it would be me. I'm fit, I'm healthy and I'm a vegetarian. The more people that know about breast cancer the better - just a simple self examination at regular times can protect you.”

Yesterday her brother Julian Holmes, brother-in-law Andy Coe, her sister's boyfriend Steve Munnings and family friend Julian Pennington each led a three person team around an assault course at Wantisden Hall for the Whole Hog charity fundraiser.

Miss Holmes, of Newton Road, Ipswich, is extremely grateful for their support and was in the crowd cheering them on.

She said: “They did really well, how they got through it I don't know. Some have even said they want to do it again next year.

“The word fun was banded around a few times, I am so proud of them all for making the effort for such a worth while cause. Breast cancer is so common, anything we can do to help out.

“I don't think I could have done it healthy or not.

“There were about 13 people running for me, one of the guys, James Lockwood came first in the male solo category.

“And two of our teams, led by Steve and Julian Pennington respectively, came second and third in the mixed team category, they all did it in less than two hours.

“All the teams were really good; they stuck together and helped each other out. It was nice to see the camaraderie between them and everyone else taking part.”

“I just can't believe peoples' generosity. They have been so kind in donations and putting their hands in their pocket - so far I think they raised more than £5,200.

“My friends, family and work colleagues have been a great source of support since my cancer was diagnosed and I can't thank them enough. The staff at Ipswich Hospital have also been fantastic - I can't fault them at all.

“I'm extremely grateful for everything they have done. They keep telling me how well I'm doing and how brave I'm being, even though I don't feel very brave at all.”

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