Blockbuster Hollywood movie inspires Norfolk woman to realise her dreams
A courageous woman struck down by cancer has movingly told how a Hollywood blockbuster movie has inspired her to draw up a list of things she wants to do and achieve.
Rachel Lane, 26, who has battled the illness for the last three years, decided to write down her dreams after watching The Bucket List.
In the film, characters played by Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman are both suffering from serious illnesses and draw up a list of the things they had always wanted to do.
And now, having met Jools Holland, enjoyed seeing Rod Stewart live at Carrow Road and attended a Wimbledon tennis final in just the last few months, Rachel, pictured, of Wymondham, is determined to defy the disease and tick off more of her wishes from her own list. In order to raise the funds to help her achieve her dreams, a friend has organised a charity casino night next month.
Rachel, who carries her list on a piece of paper with her wherever she goes, said: 'I just think you have to live life to the full and make the most of every day – and I've always thought that.
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'It's just the case that it's even truer now than before and I have to make light of the situation as best as I can.'
The marketing accounts executive first found out that she had developed breast cancer in April 2008.
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Having helped care for her mother Patricia, who also had cancer, Rachel was more aware than anyone of its dangers and went for regular check-ups.
It was this that prompted her to have a lump under her arm removed, even though she was told by doctors it was harmless. However, it was shortly after her operation at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital that the bad news came through.
'They called me in and I first thought it was a check-up, but I saw there was a breast nurse there so I knew something was wrong. When they told me I went into complete shock and couldn't believe it,' she said.
She went on to have a mastectomy, her eggs frozen in case of future infertility, radiotherapy and rounds of chemotherapy. Ever positive, Rachel, of Barnham Broom Road, made the most of the situation, buying herself five wigs of all colours, lengths and sizes.
'I think I coped quite well with it,' she said, 'as I knew what my mum had been through so I embraced it and till I got through it OK. Plus I had a lot of support from my friends and family.'
However, despite best hopes, the cancer did not go away, and the all clear she had been hoping for never came through.
Instead, last year she discovered it had spread to her arm, chest wall and the lining of her lung.
It was over this time, and with further rounds of chemotherapy - which led to to her losing a toe nail and some finger nails- that she saw the film The Bucket List.
'I saw Jack Nicholson doing it and I thought it was an amazing idea and a great thing to be able to do these things we've always wanted to do, and just live life.
'It wasn't until I was re-diagnosed this year that it had spread again and that I needed more chemotherapy that I decided I really wanted to make it happen.'
A piano player, she met hero Jools Holland two months ago, and made the most of it when her boss's girlfriend was able to secure her tickets to the Wimbledon final, sipping champagne on centre court and enjoying strawberries and cream.
Now, she is determined to achieve more of her dreams, and is setting out to tick off as many of the 40 plus hopes that she has.
These include carrying the Olympic torch, inter-railing around Europe, 'glamping' (glam camping) at a festival, driving a Lamborghini, having a meal at the world-famous Ivy Restaurant and walking down the red carpet at Cannes film festival.
She also wants to get professional singing and Salsa dance lessons, have a glamourous photoshoot, go to the Cafe Del Mar in Ibiza and be an extra in a film or TV programme.
'The future is unknown at the moment but I'm going to be optimistic about these things,' Rachel added, 'I want to be able to do these things and tell my grandchildren about them.'
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One of Rachel's dreams was to go to Las Vegas, an idea cruelly dashed when doctors told her it was too far to travel and the situation around health care in America could be problematic.
However, quick to help was her good friend Katie Thouless-Kinglsey, who decided that she would do her bit to make up for it with a Casino night.
And on October 15, Elvis, the Ratpack and the glamour of the gambling high life will be arriving at Brasted's in Framingham Pigot, all in order to raise money for three particularly good causes.
Katie, 36, explained that the money raised will go to the cancer charities Big C, Keeping Abreast and also towards helping Rachel fulfil as many items on her bucket list as possible.
'I've known her since she was born,' said Katie, of Mulbarton, 'and she is pretty, outgoing, confident and fun to be with.
'When I found out she had made a bucket list of all the things she wanted to do, I felt a lump in my throat and felt sick, but I told myself to pull myself together and do something that can help her achieve these things and keep positive.
'I had a lot of people support me and called in a lot of favours from friends but it's coming together and I'm excited about it.'
The event will run in the evening, with the 300 tickets costing �40 selling out quick to friends and family.
•Would you like to donate towards the event? Email Katie on firstname.lastname@example.org