Cancer diagnosis during Great North Run training
Sep 2023

Cancer diagnosis during Great North Run training

Elaine White, Legal Secretary in Hay & Kilner's Commercial Property Team, had planned to run this year’s Great North Run for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, part of Newcastle Hospitals Charity, to mark 10 years since she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

However, after she signed up for the half marathon and a full marathon race in Ibiza, she received unexpected and unwelcome personal health news.

Elaine, who lives with her husband, Paul, and Koba, a rescue Staffordshire bull terrier, says: “I knew I wanted to fundraise for Sir Bobby’s Foundation this year because it was such a milestone for me to celebrate a decade without cancer.

“When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I’d found the lump myself and I just didn’t feel quite right in myself. Following a visit to my GP I was referred for a scan and biopsy at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.

“My treatment involved visiting the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Centre at the Freeman Hospital every four weeks for a year to receive Herceptin, a targeted anti-cancer drug, and the care I had was incredible.

“So, a decade on and I thought it would be very fitting to run for Sir Bobby because I like to keep fit and challenge myself. But this year’s training was knocked significantly off course when they found precancerous markers in my womb.

“I’d had a few symptoms, aches and pains and things and, again, I just didn’t feel right. I thought maybe it was down to menopause, so it was a shock to hear the news.

“At this point, I’d already signed up to do the Ibiza Marathon and Great North Run with my husband, my sister, Cheryl, and my friend, who is also called Elaine. My consultant gave me the green light to run in Spain so we just got on with it. My sister is suffering from plantar fasciitis, which is a very painful foot condition, so we are both facing physical challenges.

“I’m so proud of us all for completing the marathon. Together we raised £1,600 for The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and now we have the Great North Run in our sights. I did wonder if I would be able to run though because I had a hysterectomy in June because what was initially thought to be precancerous turned out to be endometrial cancer in my womb.

“I’ve had to rest up to recover from that surgery but, hopefully, I’ll not require any further treatment. Once again, Newcastle Hospitals has looked after me so well and I’m very grateful for the wonderful care I’ve received.”

The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation funds a range of cutting-edge cancer treatment and innovative cancer support services for children and adults with cancer.

The research and clinical trials funded are not only making a huge difference to patients in the North East and Cumbria receiving treatment now, but are also part of long-term national and international efforts into the disease and what Sir Bobby hoped would become his legacy for others facing cancer.

Elaine adds: “Running and fundraising for charity is important for us. This will be my eighth Great North Run and it will be extra special because I’m running for Sir Bobby. Especially so given the unexpected health issues I’ve had this year.

“It’s the most amazing thing to be part of such a special occasion. All along the route, you look around at the different vests people are wearing and you know that all the charities are relying on the money raised.

“I’ll be hugely proud to pull on my Sir Bobby Robson Foundation vest knowing I’ll be helping support cancer treatment now and for the future. I can’t wait to head to the start line!”

The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation has raised more than £18m and works within the NHS and in partnership with other leading charities and organisations.

You can donate to Elaine here.

Get in touch

Send your query by clicking below and we will be in touch as soon as possible

‘Hay & Kilner’ and ‘Hay & Kilner Law Firm’ are both trading names of Hay & Kilner LLP, a limited liability partnership registered in England & Wales with registered number OC418767. Our registered office is at The Lumen, St James' Boulevard, Newcastle Helix, Newcastle upon Tyne NE4 5BZ and we are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (Authorisation number 643191). We use the word ‘partner’ to refer to a member of Hay & Kilner LLP. A list of the members is available at our registered office.