Brave Yvette Hutcheson led the charge against cancer at Scotland’s biggest Race for Life event today- just TWO days after completing treatment for the disease.
The 29-year-old from Glasgow was chosen as VIP for Race for Life Glasgow and took to the stage to share her story with Heart Scotland presenter Robin Galloway.
Yvette was cheered by a team of supporters including her mum Jacqueline Hutcheson,52, two sisters Gemma Bradley,22, Siobhan Bradley,21, and best friend Dawn Gillespie, 29, as well as around 9,000 women who were also taking part in the Race for Life 5K to raise vital funds for Cancer Research UK.
Yvette’s Lhasa Apso pet dog Scout also took part in Race for Life Glasgow.
Yvette who had her final radiotherapy treatment at the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre on May 20 this year recalls vividly her fear last summer when diagnosed with breast cancer.
She visited her GP after discovering a lump in her right breast and was referred to the Victoria Hospital in Glasgow for tests. Her dad, Bernard Bradley, 50, was with her on July 24 2015 when after a biopsy and ultra sound doctors explained it was likely she had cancer.
Yvette said: “Race for Life is a way to celebrate coming to the end of cancer, to celebrate getting my life back and to thank the people who have helped me get there.
“I’ve danced my way all along the 5K route today because I can. I feel so proud to be part of a powerful, passionate pink army of women at the frontline in the fight against cancer. Cancer has stolen almost a year of my life from me.
It was a major shock when I was told I had cancer as I was still so young with no family history of the disease. But I refuse to let cancer take anything else from me. I’m through it thanks to the positive people who have been there for me every step of the way.”
Yvette had HER2 positive breast cancer and there was a risk the treatment could leave her infertile. Keen to have children eventually, she went through a cycle of IVF in August before starting cancer treatment.
A total of seven eggs were frozen, eggs which Yvette now describes as her, “magnificent seven.” Yvette’s long blonde hair fell out almost immediately after she started six lots of chemotherapy which lasted until Christmas. But her boyfriend, Scott Macanna, 30, proved a rock through it all and her best friend even whisked her off on a four-day surprise holiday.
On March 2 this year at the New Victoria hospital, Yvette had surgery to have the breast lump and 13 lymph nodes under her arm removed. Tests showed chemotherapy had worked as the cancer had shrunk from five and a half cms to one and a half cms, with only dead cells left in the tumour.
A total of 20 sessions of radiotherapy this spring completed Yvette’s treatment.
Yvette has been prescribed the breast cancer drug Herceptin for the next few years. Cancer Research UK scientists helped establish the link between some cancer and ‘growth factor receptor’ proteins on the surface of cells- a crucial early step in the development of Herceptin.
Cancer Research UK also funded the clinical trials unit where the research showing that Herceptin can improve survival for people with a certain type of breast cancer was completed. And Yvette is already looking to the future with plans to train as a primary teacher.
Also at the startline, four-year-olds Ava Campbell and Evie Gilroy who became best friends after both losing a kidney to cancer sounded the airhorn together to send around 9,000 runners off on the 5K course at Glasgow Green. The girls, whose inspirational friendship began after they first met in hospital, were chosen as VIPs to kick off the Race for Life event.
It was a special moment for the families of the girls, who were both treated at Glasgow’s old Yorkhill Hospital, now the Royal Hospital for Children. Ava and Evie endured months of treatment but also celebrated together after they both got the all-clear.
Ava’s mum Lindsay Campbell, 30, of Coatbridge, Lanarkshire, said: “We’re so proud of our girls.
“They’ve amazed us with how resilient and brave they’ve been, both dealing with surgery and then some pretty nasty treatment. They may have lost their hair, but they didn’t lose their determination.
“No parent ever wants to go through what we have, but making friends under the most horrible of circumstances has really helped us all through.
“Every penny raised at Race for Life will go towards helping families like ours and that’s so important. It’s the only way we can hope to find a cure.”
Ava was diagnosed last summer with a Wilms’ tumour, a type of kidney cancer that affects around 80 children in the UK every year.
Doctors found the tumour in her right kidney after symptoms including blood in her urine. Little Evie, of Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire, was diagnosed only months earlier in April 2015 after mum Yvonne, 38, a community staff nurse, saw a spot of blood on her underwear at bedtime.
Evie needed four cycles of pre-surgery chemo before an operation to remove her right kidney, due to the extent of her tumour, last July. When the girls were first introduced in the playroom of the hospital, Ava was yet to have her surgery to remove her right kidney and Evie was just recovering from her operation. Side effects of chemotherapy meant both girls lost their long blonde hair during treatment but both wore Disney princess headbands with faux ponytails attached despite having lost their own hair.
Yvonne, also mum to two-year-old Abbey, said: “The girls hit it off immediately.
“When I got talking to Ava’s parents, I discovered what they were going through was very similar to how my husband Andrew and I were feeling. It was so nice to see the girls playing together. Before long the girls were pleading with us to visit each other’s hospital rooms to play. What they were going through was horrible, but at least they each had a friend who was facing the same thing.
“When Evie’s hair began to come out in clumps I asked her if it would be okay to shave it and she said yes. No mum wants to have to do that for their little girl. I had a lump in my throat when she turned round smiling at the end and said ‘look mummy, now I’m just like all the other boys and girls in hospital’. I know that part was hard on my husband too.”
A scan last October brought mortgage advisor Lindsay and husband Chris, 30, a tattoo artist, the news they’d been hoping for when Ava got the all clear.
Yvonne and husband Andrew, 35, a farmer, got the same reason to celebrate when Evie was told she was cancer free two months later in December. Both girls are now looking forward to starting school in August, Ava at Kirkshaws Primary in Coatbridge and Evie at Milton Primary in Lesmahagow. Despite living miles apart, they’ll remain firm friends.
Lindsay, also mum to Abhy, eight, and stepmum to Aimee, 10, added: “We go to each other’s houses all the time and it’s lovely for the girls to catch up. As well as them making friends, Yvonne and I have a nice bond too. No-one can know what it’s like having a child with cancer unless you’ve been through it and Yvonne and I understand each other. Because Evie’s diagnosis was before Ava’s, Yvonne could tell me what to expect and she was such an amazing support.”
Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, in partnership with Tesco, is an inspiring women-only series of 5k, 10k, Pretty Muddy and marathon events which raises millions of pounds every year to help fund life-saving research. Last year, women at Race for Life in Glasgow raised more than £550,760, part of a fantastic £2.3 million raised across Scotland at Race for Life events.
Organisers are now urging women to return their sponsorship money to help pioneering research. Every hour, around three people are diagnosed with cancer in Scotland* and the number of people being diagnosed with cancer has now reached 30,200 cases each year.
Race for Life event manager for Glasgow, Claire Wase, said: “The support people across Glasgow and the west coast have shown is absolutely tremendous and we are thrilled so many women took part in Race for Life.
“We want to say a heart-felt thanks to everyone who took part or supported our participants, as well as the wonderful volunteers who helped to make it happen. Sadly, most of us know someone whose life has been touched by cancer. But thanks to the huge progress that has been made in the fight against the disease, more people in Scotland are surviving cancer than ever before.
“Our aim is that one day everyone will beat cancer. The more research we can fund, the sooner that day will come. Now the big day is over, we are asking our supporters to take one last step-by returning the money they have raised so that we can go on funding much needed research.”
Money raised through Race for Life allows Cancer Research UK’s doctors, nurses and scientists to advance research which is helping to save the lives of men, women and children across Scotland.
To enter Race for Life today go to raceforlife.org or call 0300 123 0770.