Lowestoft cancer survivor takes part in ‘dryathlon’ challenge

Sam Fordham taking part in the dryathlon. She is pictured with her colleagues at Co-operative Travel

Sam Fordham taking part in the dryathlon. She is pictured with her colleagues at Co-operative Travel in Lowestoft. Picture by: Lee Blanchflower. - Credit: Archant

A cancer survivor who had to learn how to talk again after a nine-hour operation to remove the tumour from her tongue is marking the second anniversary of her diagnosis by taking up Cancer Research UK's 'dryathlon' challenge.

Sam Fordham, from Lowestoft, has pledged to swap booze for brew from New Year's Day for a month to help people like her who are diagnosed in the future.

The married mother-of-one was unprepared for her diagnosis on New Year's Eve in 2013. She'd had a biopsy on a tongue ulcer that would not go away but was sure it was nothing serious.

The 44-year-old said: 'They called to bring my next appointment forward to New Year's Eve and said there had been a cancellation. I had a load of family round at the time and didn't think much of it.

'I was going to go and get the results on my own but my husband Neil said he would come with me.

'I really didn't think it would be anything and then the specialist said: 'I am so sorry, it's as much as a surprise to me but it's cancer.'

'I went in unprepared and I wasn't expecting to hear that. I thought: 'What do you do with that news?

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'They were very good, took us to a separate room and gave us coffee. I was shaking a bit and very upset, my husband was holding my hand.

'We were meant to go to a New Year's Eve party that night but I couldn't, I was too upset. I told my husband to go if he wanted to but he told me not to be so silly.'

Mrs Fordham, who is the branch manager at Co-operative Travel in Lowestoft, needed a nine-hour operation to remove the tumour and rebuild her tongue.

She had to learn to talk again and could only eat soft food for six months.

'It was a real shock when I was first diagnosed,' she said.

'One of the first things I had to do was tell the girls at work.

'I didn't want to have to tell them face to face and we were all going into work on New Year's Day, so I sent a message round. Emotions were running high but we got on with it.

'Now two years on from that day, they'll be helping me with dryathlon as well.

'I have a five-year-old daughter and I am so grateful for the treatment that helped save my life and kept me with her. I recently ran the 10k Southwold race to raise money for research but I want to do more to help others affected by this terrible disease.'

Are you taking part in the dryathlon? Tell The Journal by calling 01502 525820 or email lowestoft.journal@archant.co.uk