Horsham cancer survivor gets ready for town’s Relay For Life

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Horsham woman Margaret Matschy is living an extraordinary life. She has been diagnosed with cancer twice and survived.

Margaret believes this is due to no stroke of luck, she believes in one thing – research. Without which, she feels she would not be here.

In March 1998 Margaret found a lump in her breast, a trip to a specialist and a mammogram confirmed her worst fears. A biopsy and lumpectomy operation followed along with the removal of 31 lymph nodes. Doctors confirmed that it was likely the cancer had spread and a course of chemotherapy and radiotherapy was started.

“I lost a lot of hair, which was the first thing,” she said. “Thankfully though I was in the clear, my liver and bones were ok, but the treatment was very intrusive and lasted weeks.

“Afterwards I was left with a lot of very bad scarring and no natural shape. I remember all of my family being shocked, it was just before my birthday and they all thought it was my last one. But I didn’t, I thought ‘No, I’m not ready to go yet’.”

Margaret survived and went on to celebrate happy family events including her daughter’s wedding and the birth of her grandchildren – which was extremely fortunate, as they had already lost both their natural grandfathers due to cancer. Her life ticked along happily for the next 14 years until 2011 when Margaret found a lump in her other breast. Ironically at aged 69, it was her last appointment before her routine mammogram when the lump was found and Margaret steeled herself once more.

“I was expecting much of the same severity, so I was surprised when far fewer nodes were removed. The time between treatments was dramatically shorter and the advancement in the skill of the surgeons was amazing. I was left with a nice natural shape.

“This time luckily I only had to undergo radiotherapy and not chemotherapy. I remember thinking at that the time that the improvements in the medical treatments I received were really noticeable, and I truly believe that research has saved my life.”

That was two years ago and today Margaret is looking forward to joining other cancer survivors at Horsham’s Relay For Life where she will walk the first lap as a guest of honour.

She feels privileged to be part of the event and explains: “So many people thought of me and motivated me to keep going. By being a survivor at the Relay it’s a brilliant way of showing people you can survive, there is hope. So please come along and let’s support one another.”

Cancer Research UK’s Relay For Life is a community-led, non-athletic event where teams fundraise and then join together in the Relay event.

There, teams take it in turns to walk round a track for up to 24 hours to signify that ‘cancer never sleeps’. Cancer survivors of all ages launch the Relay For Life as VIP’s by walking the first lap. They’re cheered on by family, friends and Relay Participants from the community who have come together to celebrate their achievements

If you’ve ever been diagnosed with cancer we’d love you to inspire others and be a guest of honour at the Relay For Life. The event takes place over 24 hours at Christ’s Hospital School, Horsham over the weekend of June 1 and 2 2013. For more information on how to get involved with Relay For Life Christ’s Hospital, please contact Lisa Love, Survivorship Chair – 07792 485650 or by emailchrelayforlife@live.com.

If you would like to find out more about forming a team to take part in the event or would like to volunteer to help over the weekend, please contact Kate/Jess 07505 150169/07747 662702, email chrelayteams@live.co.uk. More details can also be found at cruk.org/relay.