NOT everyone can say they are a lot fitter than they have been in years by the time they reach the age of 40.
But when it involves someone who has terminal cancer, the achievement is even more inspiring.
Mum-of-two, Jane Pardey, 43, has become a shining example of someone who is happily living with cancer.
Jane, from North Baddesley, said: “I am not saying I don’t have times when I feel a bit low. When I hit another birthday, I do wonder if I am going to make it to the next one.
“But I am not going to sit around feeling sorry for myself. When things do deteriorate, I don’t want to look back and wonder why I didn’t make more of the time I had”.
With that in mind, Jane, her sister Karen Tyrrell and their mum, Joyce Bednall, will be joining 2,500 women for Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life at the Garrison Ground, Bar End Road, Winchester on Sunday, June 10.
Jane was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003. Her breast was removed and doctors were confident the cancer had not spread.
But tests to investigate back pain in 2009 revealed Jane had extensive secondary cancer in her spine, pelvis, some ribs and her shoulders.
Although her cancer cannot be cured, major surgery and other treatments slowed its progress.
Doctors can’t say what Jane’s life expectancy is. Some patients live only a few months while others survive 20 years.
After the initial shock Jane decided to enjoy life and spends as much time as possible with her husband, Ian and their sons Ben, 16 and James, 14.
Jane regularly sees a specialist and is currently being treated with Ibandronic acid, a drug used to slow down or prevent bone damage.
She is also taking tamoxifen which stops breast cancer cells from picking up oestrogen, a hormone that can encourage some breast cancers to grow.
By funding many important clinical trials, Cancer Research UK’s work has shaped the use of tamoxifen which is considered to be the most important drug in the history of breast cancer treatment and has saved thousands of lives.
Jane, who has worked for the private medical insurance company Aviva Health UK for 14 years, said: “I am happily living with cancer.
That is in a lot of ways thanks to the advances in modern medicine and the fantastic research done by Cancer Research UK.
“I feel really fortunate that I am still here.
The cancer is not going to go away. I just get on with it. I am that kind of person.
“There are other options to try if and when my current treatment stops working but at the moment I go to the gym twice a week and I am a lot fitter than I have been in years.
“I even forget I have cancer sometimes. I don’t look like I have cancer. I have never looked ill. In fact, I have always looked really well.
“People who don’t know me treat me normally and I like that”.
Jane added: “In many ways, I feel very lucky. I am delighted to be doing Race for Life together with my mum and sister.
“It is always an emotional day with tears and laughter along the way. My mum lost her mum to breast cancer 17 years ago so there is a double reason for us all taking part”.
It is hoped 10,000 participants in Southampton and Winchester will raise over half a million pounds for vital research into cancer, which affects 41,000 people in the South East every year.
RACE FOE LIFE:
WINCHESTER – SUNDAY, JUNE 10, GARRISON GROUND & UNIVERSITY OF WINCHESTER SPORTS STADIUM
SOUTHAMPTON – SUNDAY, JULY 8, THE COMMON
To join the Hampshire Race for Life events, go to raceforlife.org or call 0871 641 1111 The entry fee is £14.99 for adults and £10 for under-16s