Why Vicky is supporting Yate’s Relay For Life this weekend

ONE of the organisers of this weekend’s Yate Relay for Life has shared her story, as more than 150 people prepare to take part in the 24-hour fundraiser.

Vicky Murray’s traumatic experience of breast cancer has made her a passionate supporter of the event at Yate Outdoor Sports Complex, which is being held for the 16th time this year, and has previously raised almost £500,000 for charity Cancer Research UK.

Vicky, 45, who lives in Yate, said: “I was diagnosed with stage 2 HER2 positive breast cancer, which had spread to my lymph nodes, in October 2021.

‘Very hard-going treatment’

“My treatment was very hard-going and even now I still have issues that are caused by my treatment.

“I had chemotherapy which caused heart failure, followed by a mastectomy with lymph node removal and radiotherapy. 

“After all that, I had further chemotherapy as a preventative measure but, after four rounds, I was hospitalised for six weeks, three of which I was bed bound due to having blackouts when I tried to stand up. 

“I lost so much muscle mass that walking was a real struggle and I had to have a lot of physio. I was also diagnosed with neuropathy in my hands and feet which has caused a lot of issues that has so far stopped me returning to work. 

“I was then put into forced menopause – as my cancer was formed from a clump of oestrogen cells, I am not able to take any kind of hormone replacement therapy. 

“I am so grateful to all the doctors and nurses who helped me through all this and are continuing to help now.”

Vicky had to attend appointments alone as covid was still a major issue and was helped by being able to talk to the nurses treating her.

She said: “The one major thing you don’t get told when going through treatment is what happens once it’s finished.

Life was ‘taken over’ by treatments

“Your life is taken over by appointments and treatments for so long, and you feel secure and supported in your cancer bubble that when treatments finish and you are discharged from services, it can leave you feeling abandoned. 

“You also think that when treatment is over, you are going to feel like yourself again. Sadly that is not always the case. 

Giving something back

“I felt very lost when I finished my main treatments and needed to find something to occupy my brain and hopefully give something back.

“So I reached out to a friend who used to be on the Yate Relay for Life committee, as I knew they were trying to bring the event back post-COVID. Here I am now, Team Chair!” 

Vicky helped the event return from the pandemic last year, when it was staged over 12 hours.

Relay is a 24-hour event again

This year it is back to its traditional 24-hour duration, starting at noon on July 6 and finishes at noon on July 7.

For those who come along to take part or support there is entertainment, a bouncy castle, face painting, crafts, raffle and a bake-off. 

Vicky said: “Everyone is welcome to come and join in and support all our amazing teams raising money for Cancer Research UK.

“Without charities like this, my story could be very different. Thanks to all the research that is done, I will be cancer-free for two years this July.”

For more information or to register, visit yaterelayforlife.org.uk or the event’s Facebook page.