Race For Life 2011 - cancer survivor Claire to start race

HSBC Bank worker, Claire Matthews, has beaten cancer and will be taking part in the Race for Life event at Towneley Park in Burnley this weekend. G100511/5
HSBC Bank worker, Claire Matthews, has beaten cancer and will be taking part in the Race for Life event at Towneley Park in Burnley this weekend. G100511/5

A BURNLEY customer service adviser who has twice beaten cancer will officially start Sunday’s Race For Life 2011 in Towneley Park.

Mrs Claire Matthews (30), a mum-of-one, will join hundreds of women for the annual 5km event in aid of Cancer Research UK.

Bubbly Claire, who works at HSBC in Manchester Road, was first diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at the age of 18.

“I just wasn’t well and I noticed a lump in my neck. I went to casualty at Burnley General Hospital and they diagnosed it there and then,” she said.

She was then referred to the Christie Hospital in Manchester where she underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

But just last year Claire, who attended Higham Primary School and the former Walton High School in Nelson, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and had an operation to remove her thyroid.

“I was quite naive at 18 to be fair, I just thought I’d get the treatment done, but thinking about it, it could’ve been worse.

“But the second time Christie’s were closely monitoring me and they just took my thyroid out.”

Luckily Claire, who lives with her husband David (33) and two-year-old son Toby, has recovered from both cancers but said her experience has changed her outlook on life.

“I just get on with whatever I’ve got to do. You’ve got to have that ‘can do’ attitude.”

She has taken part in Race For Life for the last five years and this year will be running alongside her friend Sarah Blezard.

“I just do it to give a bit back and I do other charity stuff for Christie’s.”

The race starts at 11 a.m. but women are advised to get there early for the warm-up and use the park and ride from Turf Moor.