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Racing in memory of my mum and grandad
IT is the silent killer that claimed the life of both her mum and grandad.
When Kelly Wickens’ mum Kay Martin was a little girl, she used to welcome her dad home from work and sit on his lap like any other youngster.
But neither of them knew their tender moments would later end up killing them both as his clothes were covered in the deadly asbestos fibres picked up in Southampton Docks where he worked as a docker.
Terry Adams died from mesothelioma, an aggressive form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, three years ago in his mid 70s.
But just weeks ago Kay, a popular hairdresser lost her battle to the same disease aged just 50.
She was exposed to the deadly particles from her father.
Her daughter Kelly, 29, said: “My granddad came home covered in asbestos and as a child she would sit on his lap like any normal child would and was exposed innocently to this evil substance.
“My grandad passed away from the same evil disease his little girl now has.”
But Kelly is determined to fight back against cancer by taking part in the Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life Twilight on Friday and hopes to raise as much money as possible for the charity.
“I felt so helpless seeing her struggle with immense pain, sickness and tiredness caused by what the treatment did to her small fragile body. I want to beat the evil that is cancer by helping to find new treatments and one day a cure.
“When mum died I was totally broken but, like her, I am fighting back.”
Kelly with her mum, Kay, and auntie Pam
Kelly’s mum Kay had been diagnosed 17 months ago with mesothelioma.
The mum-of-two was well known in Woolston where she ran a hairdressing salon, Look Ahead.
Kelly, a Crown Prosecution Service lawyer from Netley, said her mum’s strength until her death on September 15 has spurred her on.
“Cancer is evil! It doesn’t matter if you’re young, old, male, female, kind, caring. If it wants you it will get you.
“It was my therapy when my mum became very ill to start fundraising. I was cross and I wanted to do something to beat cancer back.
“There is no cure but the treatment my mum received gave her a lot more time and that is thanks to research.”
Kelly recalled during her mum’s final hours, her mum was heartened by the number of people supporting her daughter with her fundraising walk which takes place for the second year during darkness on Southampton Common.
“During her last day at home we showed her all the lovely messages people had left and she enjoyed that.
“Those moments will be our lasting memory of Mum.
“She put up one hell of a fight and kicked cancer’s ass a number of times.
“Now it’s my turn.”
Kelly, a mum-of-two who runs for Hedge End Running Club, will complete the run with her team of ten, which includes her mum’s sister Pam Clements, hair stylists and friends.
Pam, from Sholing, has set herself an additional challenge to run 5k before her 55th birthday – two days after the event.
“It may be only running 5k but it’s going to be the hardest 5k auntie Pam and I will ever run.”
- To support Kelly and the team go to raceforlifesponsorme.org/kellywickens13.
Race for Life Twilight event organiser Rachel Northover urged women across the county to join Kelly and step out for cancer on Friday.
She said: “It is an amazing way to celebrate life but also remember those, like Kay, who have been lost to the disease. Light is a powerful symbol of hope so we want to see everyone with fairy lights and glow sticks and as many sequinned outfits as possible.
“Twilight promises all the fun and camaraderie of Race for Life but with the added excitement of fundraising under the stars.
“Like Race for Life, it’s not about being fit or fast. Women can do the event at their own pace.”
To sign up for Southampton Race for Life Twilight at 7pm go to raceforlife.org or call 0845 600 6050.
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