Marathon mum from Norfolk loses cancer fight
A mother-of-three from Norfolk achieved her dream of running the London Marathon to raise money for a cancer charity, unaware she was dying from the disease herself.
Brave Yvette Scally, of Rollesby, already had a large tumour in her pelvis when she completed the gruelling 26-mile course last year in aid of Cancer Research UK and children's charity NSPCC.
But she did not develop symptoms until six months after the race when she suffered from chronic back pain and a limp in her right leg, by which time the cancer was terminal.
She died at home surrounded by her family last Thursday, aged just 47.
Her untimely death has left her devastated family pondering whether the disease could have been caught sooner.
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Her father David Etheridge, 71, who lives at Blythburgh, said he could not be sure whether she had shown signs of the disease prior to being diagnosed because she was not the type to complain about minor ailments.
But he said doctors had told him the disease was likely to have been present for two or three years before she died and he believed she may have exhibited personality changes which were not picked up on, such as not tending to the garden or not answering her mobile phone.
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However, he urged people not to take chances and see a doctor if even relatively minor problems, such as back pain, lingered for a long time.
He paid tribute to his 'athletic' daughter who was devoted to her three children, Holli, 15, Ethan, 13, and Jade, 11 and her husband Robert, 44.
'She would do anything for her family and her children. There were times when she would drive Holli to her Jujitsu classes and Ethan to his cricket at Martham Cricket Club, even though she was struggling with the pain in her leg.
'She was very unselfish. She would literally do anything for her children before considering herself, such as driving them to their activities when she should have been at home,' Mr Etheridge said.
He added that the former Wroughton Junior and Gorleston Girls' School pupil held Wroughton's record for the 100 yard sprint for 12 years and had decided to take up running again in her later years, applying unsuccessfully for the London Marathon on a number of occasions.
However, she finally achieved her dream in April 2010, completing the course in just over five hours.
In October, she developed the back pain which she initially put down to excessive gardening, but then she struggled to walk on her right leg and decided to see a doctor, who asked her to be scanned at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.
The scans revealed the cancer was terminal and had spread to other parts of her body.
Courses of radiotherapy and chemotherapy followed, but the tumour in her pelvis was so large and aggressive it could only be controlled, not eradicated, and her health deteriorated to the point where she could no longer walk. She became wheelchair-bound prior to her death.
Mr Etheridge said her children, who all attend Flegg High School, had received support and counselling from their school and a Macmillan Cancer Support nurse.
Her funeral was held at Gorleston Crematorium yesterday