Swaffham grandmother, 71, completes half marathon walk for Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund
10:58 26 May 2014
© Archant Norfolk 2014
A grandmother who has been diagnosed with the same deadly disease which claimed her brother’s life seven years ago has raised hundreds of pounds towards research into the condition.
Julia Fitzpatrick, from Swaffham, was given the news she had terminal pancreatic cancer in January this year, and was told by doctors she did not have long to live. It is the same form of cancer which her brother, Peter Blackmore, died from in 2007.
But despite her prognosis and the fact she is undergoing regular chemotherapy treatment, the 71-year-old, who is described as “strong” and “determined” by her children, decided to organise her own charity walk to raise money for the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund.
The mother of three walked a half marathon over two days, trekking from Castle Acre to Swaffham on Friday and Necton to Swaffham on Saturday. She raised more than £1,000 for the cause.
Mrs Fitzpatrick, who has always kept herself fit and active and used to be in the Territorial Army, said it was a “great shock” when she was diagnosed at the start of this year.
“I was really taken aback as I’ve been so fit and well and I’ve not had many aches and pains all my life,” she said.
“It was a bolt out of the blue and hit me like a hammer.”
Mrs Fitzpatrick, who is hoping to see her daughter, Haley, get married in two weeks’ time and to see the birth of Haley’s twins this summer, added: “There’s a lot they don’t know about pancreatic cancer and they need to do a lot of research into it. I would like to go out knowing I’ve done a little bit.”
The former laboratory assistant, who has lived in Swaffham for 40 years after moving up from London, was supported by family, including her son Adrian and youngest daughter Beverley, as she completed the trek. “It was wonderful. I do a lot of walking anyway, I haven’t got a car so I walk everywhere, and I look after my young grandson so that keeps me busy,” she said.
“We were very lucky with the weather and managed to dodge the showers both days. I’ve raised more than £1,000 and I’m so pleased I did it – the money will be going to a very worthy cause.”
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