'I owe them my life': Cancer survivor's 20-mile assault course in aid of hospital charity
PUBLISHED: 11:51 19 January 2019 | UPDATED: 12:13 19 January 2019
It's one of the biggest obstacle courses in the world - and Keren Smith is aiming to conquer it in aid of charity.
For she is taking part in a 20-mile assault on the Rat Race Dirty Weekend being held at Burghley House, near Peterborough, in May.
She’s already taken part in a series of similar courses around the country along with her partner Steven Abbott and nine-year-old son Malakai.
The couple’s two-year-old daughter Connie has also been involved with her training, which she carries out at a course held on the playing field next to the Moreton Hall Community Centre, in Bury St Edmunds.
The 30-year-old, who lives in Oliver Road, is aiming to raise money for the My WiSH Charity, with the cash targeted at the West Suffolk Hospital’s gynaelogical department - who she says she owes her life to.
Her cause for raising the money is very close to her heart, as her family has battled with medical issues on both the maternal and paternal side.
When she was six years old, ovarian cancer claimed her grandmother’s life. And her other grandmother lost her battle with cancer when she was around 10.
Her older sister Natalie was 14 when she had her first surgery for ovarian cysts and by the time she was 21 she had four operations.
Keren, who runs Creative Nails, in St John’s Street, met her 32-year-old partner in 2015 and she set a date for a hysterectomy as a preventive measure, as she was sure that at some point she would also fall ill due to ovarian cancer.
“But he shocked me by saying he really wanted a baby with me,” she said.
“Within a month I was pregnant and the following August, Connie joined the world. I still get so emotional when I think about how incredibly blessed I am to have my children.
“In October 2017 I had a full hysterectomy and my gyneacologist said everything had gone to plan. I got my letter with the results and I sobbed as I read that they had found cervical cancer. I just wanted to shut everyone and everything away.
“I called the hospital and they confirmed the news but said that it was only found on the cervix area and they were quite sure that they had removed it during the surgery but as a precaution wanted me back in six months for a check up. That check up was done on May 16 and I was ecstatic to get the all clear on May 30.”
That is when she decided she wanted to do the epic race for the hospital.
She added: “I owe them my life. From the very first time I visited them they have been nothing but outstanding. The personal care, professionalism and work that they do is phenomenal and I can’t thank them enough.
“I might not have been able to live my life watching my beautiful family grow up.”
She has set up a JustGiving donation page here.