Latest News
13 January 2022

Kristel's Coniston to Barrow Challenge

To say "thank you" to CancerCare for supporting her mum through cancer treatment

K2 B Wendy slide
Latest News
13 January 2022

Many of the people who do the Keswick or Coniston to Barrow for CancerCare do so for very personal reasons.

This is certainly the case for Kristel Kemp from Barrow who will be undertaking the 20 mile route from Coniston to her hometown to say “thank you” to the charity for supporting her mum Wendy through her treatment for stage 3 tonsil cancer last year.

Wendy’s diagnosis came as a huge shock to Kristel, particularly as this was the second time her family had been hit by cancer - her brother came through stage 3 testicular cancer 11 years ago.

However, being the so-called “tough one of the family” Kristel got practical, did some research and found about the support and therapy offered by CancerCare at our Duke Street Centre in Barrow and got in touch on behalf of her mum.

Wendy said: “Kristel made the first contact, because she was worried about me and wanted to access more support for me. I was nervous going to the first meeting, because talking was really difficult due to the radiotherapy on my throat and I had horrible side effects that I didn’t like anyone to see. They were lovely though and I needn’t have worried.”

Wendy was referred for sessions of reflexology, a type of massage that concentrates on the hands and feet and promotes the relief of stress and anxiety, with therapist Liz McGrory and their sessions quickly became the highlight of her week,

“I really looked forward to them. I always felt totally relaxed and at ease. Liz always had a nice chat to me too. I never felt like I needed to hide my side effects or anything like that. It was such a nice place to be,” said Wendy.

It was an anxious time for the family, particularly Kristel and her sons Jack and Charlie who are all extremely close, and she coped with the worry by losing herself in her love of sports, the outdoors and fundraising for charity.

“I threw myself into fundraising for the Rosemere Cancer Foundation by baking masses of cakes. My nephew, Saul, helped me to deliver them and we raised over £2,000. I also found that spending time biking, hiking, running and swimming in the Lake District helped keeps me sane and I made sure I was on hand to support Mum as much as possible by driving, cooking, cleaning - whatever she needed, that was my first priority.”

In September Wendy recently received wonderful news that her cancer had gone which was an enormous relief for the family.

“I was so very pleased! The treatment she went through was absolutely brutal, so it had to have been worth it! Mum is a little warrior and we’re all very, very proud of her,” said Kristel.

Wendy is well on the road to full recovery and in May Kristel’s fundraising focus will turn to CancerCare as she aims to run the 20 mile Coniston to Barrow (C2B) route as her way of saying “thank you” for our support.

“Cancer is evil. It has tried to take two of my family members away and I will do everything I can to fight back at that. Over the years I’ve raised around £10,000 for Rosemere and before Mum’s treatment, I didn’t know about CancerCare, so now it is their turn. I believe in giving back and the services you provide are so important to people like Mum,” she said.

Kristel, who works for the Outward Bound Trust, is a C2B veteran and is aiming to break her personal best in May and she will be joined by a large group of friends and family members including her sons, Jack and Charlie, and nephew, Saul.

“I love running and I’m in my own rehab period after a hip operation at the moment, so this will be my first post-op challenge. I love to run for a cause. When it feels hard or I want to stop, I remind myself of the suffering my mum and brother went through. I tell myself that I can just suck it up for one day when they were so ill for weeks and weeks. It’s the least I can do,” said Kristel.

Registration for this year’s Keswick and Coniston to Barrow opens on 31 January. To find out more about how to raise money for CancerCare on this iconic event, click here or email heidi.bowron@cancercare.org.uk

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