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Lung cancer sufferer Gabrielle Kearne joins Roy Castle charity walk

By Liza Williams, Liverpool Echo

1632 days ago   Article ID# 439730
Original URL

 

Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation

LIVERPOOL, U K (Liverpool Echo) - A 22-year-old lung cancer sufferer has gathered together her friends and family to walk for charity.

Gabrielle Kearne, from Melling, is taking part in the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation’s Midnight Walk next month.

The art student was diagnosed with the disease a month ago, and wants to help raise funds for the charity to help others.

Gabrielle has not developed the disease through smoking – her case is a secondary cancer following on from a tumour found in her leg at the age of 17.

But cases of the disease in Merseyside – specifically Liverpool and Knowsley – are some of the highest in England, because of the number of people who smoke.

The charity works to reduce smoking prevalence in the region through its Fag Ends service, where Gabrielle’s boyfriend, James O’Neil, works.

She said: “I got to hear about the walk through James and wanted to do it.

“I have got loads of my friends and family involved, including my mum, my youngster sister and my twin sister.

“It was massive shock getting the diagnosis, it still hasn’t sunk in and I am thinking about the different treatment options available.

“I have delayed the chemo slightly because I wanted to freeze some of my eggs, in case the treatment makes me infertile.

“There is also an option to have my bone marrow removed to make sure the cancer has all gone.

“My twin sister Victoria would be a bone marrow match so I am considering that at the moment.

“Otherwise, I will be on six doses of chemo with other drugs.

“I am not going to let it stop me doing what I want to do.”

Gabrielle developed a lump on her leg aged 11, and by the age of 17 it was diagnosed as cancerous.

She went through a gruelling course of chemotherapy at Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology, and had her leg operated on, including having her fibula removed.

By the age of 19 she had recovered, but still needed regular check-ups to make sure the cancer did not return.

Last month she found out it had, but the doctors have caught the disease early. She is currently being looked after by staff at Clatterbridge and the Royal Liverpool hospital.

Gabrielle hopes to become an art teacher, and is due to graduate from Salford University in the visual arts next year.

Lung cancer is a big killer in Merseyside.

Liverpool has the worst cancer death rates in the country, standing at 164.3 per 100,000 people, and health chiefs attribute a large proportion of this to lung cancer.

Liverpool also has the second highest rate of people dying as a result of smoking, at 329.4 people per 100,000, compared to a national average of 210.2.

The picture is only worse in Manchester.

Quit rates are increasing, but experts say there is a long way to go. The Roy Castle Foundation is trying to change this picture, along with other charities and health bodies.

The foundation’s research is carried out in Liverpool and it provides help and support to patients affected by lung cancer.

It also campaigns for better resources for lung cancer patients.

Jenny Lloyd, the fundraising manager at the foundation, said: “This is such a fantastic event to get involved in, last year it raised over £70,000 and every walker went home with fabulous memories and a real sense of achievement.

“So far this year we’ve had a great response but we want to raise as much money as possible and to do this we need more women to register.

“Gaby is such a strong young lady with an amazing attitude and I think there will be a lot of people thinking if she can to it, so can I.

“I would urge them to register because the more money we can raise the better.”

The Liver Birds Midnight Walk starts and finishes at the Pier Head on Friday, May 14. The 9km fully-stewarded route takes in the city’s most famous sights.

Registration begins at 10pm. To register costs £10 and walkers will receive a fundraising pack, T-shirt, goody bag and medal. Visit the website at www.roycastle.org/liverbirds or call 0151-254 7200.

Copyright 2014 Liverpool Echo   (Copyright Terms)
Updated 1632 days ago   Article ID# 439730

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