Five inspiring stories of woman taking part in Race for Life events in Norwich this weekend

The 2015 Race for Life at the Norfolk Showground. The warm-up. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The 2015 Race for Life at the Norfolk Showground. The warm-up. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

This weekend thousands of woman will be taking part in the Race for Life events in Norwich to raise money for Cancer Research UK. Here, we take a look at some of those taking part in the events and the inspiration behind their decision to take part.

Hayley Coleman (left) was diagnosed with breast cancer just weeks after signing up for Cancer UKs Ra

Hayley Coleman (left) was diagnosed with breast cancer just weeks after signing up for Cancer UKs Race for Life.She is determined to run it with her best friend Kirsty Hill (right).Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

• A woman who was diagnosed with breast cancer just weeks after signing up for the Race for Life will be among the thousands tackling the 5km course on Sunday.

Hayley Coleman faces a year of treatment, including a double mastectomy, following the shock diagnosis in February.

But Mrs Coleman, 31, is determined to go the distance and make it to the finish line despite the debilitating effects of chemotherapy.

She will be joined by her best friend and colleague at Gorleston police station, Kirsty Hill, 33, after the pair signed up for the run as something fun to do together earlier in the year.

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Mrs Coleman was also keen that the Louise Hamilton Centre at Gorleston's James Paget hospital benefits from her fundraising, hailing the comfort and companionship of Cancervive, a group for women aged 30 to 40 who have been affected by cancer.

Being diagnosed with the disease after putting her name down for the run made the experience a lot more meaningful, she said.

Millie Bell and her mother, Angela Bell, at the Race for Life 2015

Millie Bell and her mother, Angela Bell, at the Race for Life 2015 - Credit: Archant

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She is currently undergoing chemotherapy every three weeks with a two-week break.

Soon she will have a double mastectomy followed by immediate reconstruction and possible radiotherapy.

• Taking on the 10k race is a mean feat for any runner – yet one 13-year-old is determined to cross the finish line.

Millie Bell, from Norwich, is taking part in the Race for Life in memory of her grandfather. In 2015, Joe Bell, Millie's 'grandpops', was taken into the James Paget University Hospital for cancer treatment.

'We all thought he was recovering and would soon be home,' Angela Bell, Millie's mother, said.

Rachael Warnes will be taking on the race for Cancer Research UK

Rachael Warnes will be taking on the race for Cancer Research UK - Credit: Archant

During his time in hospital Millie decided to do the 5k race – something her grandfather was very proud of. But, seven weeks later, he died.

Ms Bell said: 'It was a big shock to all of us, but this year in memory of her grandpops, Millie wanted to go bigger and better – someone doing the 10k race at her age is quite unheard of. It has been quite emotional for her.'

The 13-year-old is raising money for Cancer Research UK and her Just Giving page has already received £115 in donations.

To sponsor Millie Bell, visit:

• Rachael Donovan, a committed member of the pink army, will take to the stage with her eight-year-old daughter Lyla, to sound the starting horn and set the runners off, before taking part in the 10k race.

The event has particular significance for Mrs Donovan since she is herself a cancer survivor, having found a pea-sized lump near her collarbone in December 2010.

The following month, three days before her husband Martin's birthday, she was told it was non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

The 37-year-old from Norwich said: 'I was 32, I'd been married six months, we had a three-year-old daughter. It was a total shock.

'I'd found a little lump in my neck, nothing out of the ordinary. Lots of people have lumps – it doesn't mean they've got cancer – and just to be told that was a complete shock.

'I kept thinking, I can't leave my daughter, I'm her mummy and she needs me.

'That was the worst part. You can do all of the treatment – chemo, radiotherapy – you can be sick all of the time and have no energy and be asleep, but the thought of your own child not having a mother is the worst part of it. She was what kept me going.'

After having the lump removed, Mrs Dononvan underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy before being told in September 2011 that she was in remission.

She went out that day to get a tattoo on her arm – it reads Fighter. Mrs Donovan said: 'We think that we're always going to get old but it's not always the case. I kind of had a wake-up call. I think everyone needs to be aware of the research and put their hands in their pocket and pay what you can.

'I can't say thank you enough to everyone who took part in Race for Life before, during and now after my treatment. We need to raise more money to beat cancer sooner.'

• A woman who lost her mum and mother-in-law to cancer is aiming to raise £1,000 for research into the disease.

Rachael Warnes will be taking part in Cancer Research UK's Pretty Muddy event at the Norfolk Showground this weekend.

The 42 year old, from Thorpe St Andrew, is taking on the challenge in memory of two relatives who died from the disease.

Mrs Warnes' mother Margaret Clements had cancer twice and was initially given the all clear after being treated for a brain tumour.

But she was later diagnosed with leukaemia and died aged 59.

Meanwhile, her mother-in-law Shirley Warnes died of lung cancer three years ago.

Mrs Warnes said: 'Mum had a malignant brain tumour in an area that was operable. She recovered and was doing okay. We thought that was it, it was behind us, but then she was diagnosed with a secondary cancer. It was 18 months from diagnosis to when we lost her.

'Mum was 59, no age at all. My step dad has never been the same. We still can't talk about mum without him getting upset. They were almost too much of a good thing. They were so close and did everything together. They were very happy. That's the thing, it's not just the ones you lose but it's about the ones left behind.'

• Hanging on the wall of a fancy dress shop in Dereham is a pink top that will never be worn.

It was bought to remember Bev Boswell and to mark the passing of Norwich Race for Life 2015 without her. The 49-year-old always took part in the event, but in September 2014 she died from breast cancer.

Her friends and family are now planning to compete in this year's competition at the Norfolk Showground this weekend in her memory.

Tracey Leaman, 49, who runs Arnie's Attic Fancy Dress, on Quebec Street, was friends with Bev for more than 30 years and hung her top on the wall as tribute after she died.

She said: 'Bev was a lovely person, the sort who'd give you the shirt from her back. She was wild. As soon as she was diagnosed she started putting on fundraising events like 'wigs and lashes' where we'd all dress up, she even did a bungee jump from a crane to raise money.

'She told me she was determined to fight cancer, that she had too much to do to let it beat her. She said she was too busy. Bev was like a sister to me, I miss her terribly every day.'

Bev was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010. Despite going through treatment, it spread to her bones and she died four years later.

She continued to take part in race for life with her friends and two daughters right up until the year she died.

Tracey said: 'We started doing race together years ago. A big group of us would do it and we always dressed up in costumes just to have a go as a girl thing.

'After Bev was diagnosed it meant a lot more. She walked the course that year as she was slower than usual but she did it. 'After that she had to use a wheelchair but she always got out at the end and walked the final straight.'

'Last year was awful taking part without her, I said to the girls you'll have to leave me alone, go on ahead, because it was too much. It was a very tearful year.'

The team will be running the race at 11am on May 15. To sponsor them visit

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