Salford University student vows to complete London Marathon for cancer charity after last year’s injury set-back

After making the devastating decision to pull out of last year’s London Marathon following a knee injury, 22-year-old cancer survivor Seren Hughes is determined to take on this year’s event to raise money for CLIC Sargent, the UK’s leading cancer charity for children and young people.

Salford University student vows to complete London Marathon for cancer charity after last year’s injury set-back

Seren was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2015, aged just 19, after she began feeling unwell during her first year at Salford University.

Seren, who is now in her final year studying English Literature, said: “As a student, I thought I was just going out too much and I was a bit run down. I’ve always been health conscious, so when I noticed that I’d put a bit of weight on my stomach I started going to the gym more and cutting down on bad food to try and shift it.”

After a couple of months, Seren saw no improvement and went to the GP for a blood test. The next day she received a call telling her that she needed to go to A&E straight away.

Doctors discovered a cyst and Seren then underwent surgery to remove her left ovary and fallopian tube. Two weeks later, Seren was told they had found cancerous cells and she began a course of chemotherapy.

Seren said: “My mum and dad burst into tears while I was just asking lots of questions about what was going to happen next.

“I was really determined to get through that period and planned loads of things for once the chemo was over like a big family BBQ and going to a music festival with my friends. I didn’t want to miss out.”

Seren is keen to give something back to CLIC Sargent after being supported by the charity’s social workers while she was unwell.

She decided to run the London Marathon, but after suffering a knee injury last year which meant she was unable to take part she vowed to take on the 26.2 miles this April. 

Seren said: “CLIC Sargent was an amazing support while I was unwell.

"My social worker helped me to apply for grants which helped with the extra costs during treatment, and they also introduced me to the charity’s Young Person’s Reference Group, where I met other young people affected by a cancer diagnosis.

“I was really upset when I had to pull out of last year’s London Marathon because of my knee. It was only about a month before I was due to run that it became obvious I’d hurt myself and wouldn’t be able to go through with it. 

“It feels right this year though, I feel more prepared and ready to go. I’ve been able to do more training and taken on a couple of half marathons to get myself used to distance running.

“I’m excited to get going now. All of my family are going to be there cheering me on towards the last couple of miles so I think that will really give me a boost. I’m not putting lots of pressure on myself to finish in a certain time, I’m just focused on getting around.”

In May, Seren will also take on the Great Manchester Run 10k to raise money for The CATS Campaign.  

Seren became President of CATS Salford in September last year. The student-led organisation works to make sure every student and young person across the whole of the UK knows the common signs and symptoms of cancer and when to go and see their GP.

Laura Jade, Sports and Challenge Events Manager at CLIC Sargent, said: “When cancer strikes young lives we fight tirelessly to limit the damage it causes beyond their health through practical, emotional and financial support. We rely entirely on donations to fund our vital work and so we can’t thank Seren enough for her fantastic efforts. 

“This big challenge Seren is taking on will make a massive difference for young people with cancer by helping us ensure they are getting the right support they need.”

To sponsor Seren’s London Marathon effort, go to: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/seren4clicsargent or text the code CLS60 followed by the amount you’d like to donate (£_) to 70070.

For more information, please contact Rebecca Bourley on 020 8752 2938 or email Rebecca.Bourley@clicsargent.org.uk

About cancer in children and young people

Today, 11 more children and young people in the UK will hear the devastating news that they have cancer. Treatment normally starts immediately, is often given many miles from home and can last for up to three years. Although survival rates are over 80%, cancer remains the single largest cause of death from disease in children and young people in the UK.

About CLIC Sargent

When cancer strikes young lives CLIC Sargent helps families limit the damage cancer causes beyond their health. CLIC Sargent is the UK’s leading charity for young cancer patients and their families. We provide specialist support, to help and guide each young cancer patient and their family. We will fight tirelessly for them, individually, locally and nationally. For more information, visit www.clicsargent.org.uk

Note to sub editors

Please note that the name ‘CLIC Sargent’ should not be abbreviated to CLIC, and that the word ‘CLIC’ should always appear in capitals, as above.  

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