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Amanda is thankful for every day with her family

Amanda McClay, third left, with her work colleagues who will join her in the Pretty Muddy event for Cancer Research UK
Amanda McClay, third left, with her work colleagues who will join her in the Pretty Muddy event for Cancer Research UK
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A new wonder drug would give Amanda McClay six months to live, she was told.

But three years on the 30-year-old from Preston is still going strong and is determined to live each day as if it was the last.

Amanda McClay, of Preston, who has an aggressive form of breast cancer

Amanda McClay, of Preston, who has an aggressive form of breast cancer

Amanda was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer in 2013, aged just 26.

Following two operations, six rounds of chemotherapy and 15 lots of radiotherapy, the cancer returned and was deemed incurable.

She began taking Kadcyla and was told this would give her up to six more months.

Three years on Amanda shares her experiences with the Post.

She says: “In 2013, I felt a lump and went to see my GP. I was sent for further tests and I was told it was just my hormones.

“But a few weeks later it was still there so I was referred to the breast unit in Chorley and they confirmed I had cancer.

“I was told I needed surgery to remove the cancer, followed by chemotherapy and radiotherapy. I needed two operations as they didn’t get all the cancer cells out the first time.

“I had finished my treatment and on my yearly checkup, in 2014, I mentioned my neck glands had swollen.

“To be honest I had nearly forgotten to mention it – I was glad I did.

“I was referred again and was told the cancer had spread to my neck and lymph nodes in my chest.

“I thought it had gone, so it was a big shock.

“The cancer is incurable. I was told I would be on treatment for the rest of my life and would never be able to have children.

“I was put on a drug which features a lot in the news called Kadcyla which the NHS will not pay for.

“This drug that supposedly gives woman up to six months with their family which I have now been on for three years.

“At the moment I am just trying to keep my cancer stable. It won’t go away but we can stop it from growing.

“I will be on this drug until it stops working. Then I will try to find something else.

“I try to be hopeful as I know it is not going to go away. I am more about living my life now, rather than making plans for the future.

“I am making memories with my family and being positive, as opposed to thinking I am going to die.”

Amanda, who works for Fish Insurance, in Walton Summit, is now preparing to take on the Race for Life Pretty Muddy event in Preston with her colleagues.

She adds: “I was meant to volunteer at the Race for Life event last year as my friends were taking part, but I got ill and had to go to A&E.

“But this year, I have started to lose weight and get fitter so I can make more memories and in an attempt to try extend my life further and decided to do the pretty muddy event with my work colleagues.

“Unfortunately I have sustained an injury in my training which means I may not be in a position to run the whole course but will certainly be walking it with my colleagues.”

Race for Life 5k, 10k and Pretty Muddy events, in partnership with Tesco, will be held at Moor Park over the weekend of Saturday, June 17 and Sunday, June 18.

Every day, around 110 people are diagnosed with cancer in the North West. That’s why Cancer Research UK is calling on women across the region to fight back against this devastating disease by signing up to Race for Life now.

Last year, almost 1,000 women tackled the 5k and 10k course in Preston. This year, organisers hope 1,100 people will take part in the fight against cancer.

Money raised through Race for Life helps to make long-term research and pioneering trials possible, leading to new tests, kinder treatments and cures, which could save the lives of more people across the North West.

Research is improving survival all the time: Cancer survival in the UK has doubled in the last 40 years and more women are surviving breast cancer than ever before.

Almost nine in 10 children diagnosed with leukaemia survive for ten years or more and 98 per cent of men diagnosed with testicular cancer now survive their disease for ten years or more.

Race for Life is the UK’s largest fund-raising event series with over 350 events around the UK from May to October.

Women and girls of all ages, abilities, shapes and sizes from all over the UK join together to walk, jog or run to raise money to help beat over 200 types of cancer affecting men, women and children.

All women are welcome, regardless of whether they are taking part on their own or as part of a group.

There will be 74 Pretty Muddy events across the UK, including one in Preston.

Pretty Muddy is a women-only, non-competitive 5k and 10k obstacle course - with mud.

Open to women and girls over 13, of all fitness levels, Pretty Muddy isn’t about blood, sweat and tears - it’s about fun, friendship and fund-raising to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.

Each Pretty Muddy event will have up to 10 obstacles, plus a few surprises in between. There will be a combination of messy and muddy obstacles, climbing obstacles and crawling obstacles.

The entry fee is £19.99 for adults and £10 for girls under 16.

This covers the cost of staging the event series and means that money raised in sponsorship can go to help beat cancer.

Participants with pre-existing medical conditions are advised to seek advice from their doctor before registering.

Sign up for Race for Life now at www.raceforlife.org or call 0300 123 0770.