WITH her father recently finishing treatment for bowel cancer, Janice Gale has a special reason for taking part in Winchester’s Race for Life this Sunday.

She will be one of 1,500 women embarking on the 5km course.

Many have survived cancer themselves or are taking part in memory of or – like Janice – in celebration of loved ones whose lives has been touched by the disease.

They will walk, jog or run to raise vital funds for Cancer Research UK’s pioneering work – and there are still places available.

“I’m taking part in Race for Life because I really want to give something back as I don’t know whether my dad would be here today without the advances made by Cancer Research UK,” says Janice, who lives in Micheldever.

“The charity in turn relies on everyone who raises money through Race for Life.

“The atmosphere at the event is electric and the spirit of sisterhood and support is amazing. I want to encourage as many women as possible to experience this, by entering their local Race for Life event as soon as possible.”

After discovering he had small bowel cancer last November, Janice’s father Alan Harmer, who lives in Hursley, underwent six bouts of chemotherapy at Winchester’s Royal Hampshire County Hospital.

Describing the shock she felt when she discovered that her dad had been diagnosed, Janice said: “When I took him for his first session of chemotherapy, it still did not feel real that he had cancer – not until his hair started to fall out. That was hard for me, as my dad has always had lots of curly hair."

Alan has recently finished his treatment, and he and his family are still waiting to hear whether the chemotherapy has worked, but Janice says he is looking better every day.

It will be the second time that Janice has taken part in Winchester’s Race for Life along with her good friend Andrea Arenjo-Jones, who herself received the all-clear from breast cancer last year.

Organisers hope that participants will raise £146,258 at the event, which will be held at the Garrison Ground and University of Winchester Sports stadium at 11am.

Race for Life is a women-only series of events which raises millions of pounds every year for life-saving research into 200 types of cancer – helping men, women and children across Hampshire to survive.

A Race for Life boutique will be set up at the Winchester event for anyone wanting to buy souvenir clothing.