Burntisland mum refuses to let cancer stop her own Race for Life

Lindsay Blake (right) and daughter Stephanie will lead the charge at the Pretty Muddy 5K event in Kirkcaldy on Saturday.
Lindsay Blake (right) and daughter Stephanie will lead the charge at the Pretty Muddy 5K event in Kirkcaldy on Saturday.

A mum of two fighting cancer for the second time has been chosen to lead the charge against the disease at Pretty Muddy Fife.

Lindsay Blake will sound the horn to send more than 1000 women on the Race for Life 5K mud-splattered obstacle course at Beveridge Park, Kirkcaldy, on Saturday, June 23, to raise vital funds for Cancer Research UK.

She’s leading a 25 strong team of family and friends set to take part in the event with obstacles which include an inflatable mud slide, space hoppers and a scramble net.

Lindsay, of Burnisland, knows exactly how vital the power of research is. She’s being treated with palbociclib, a new drug for breast cancer which targets and blocks the proteins that help cancer cells grow.

Cancer Research UK-funded scientists played a leading role in the development of the drug, which was approved for NHS use by the Scottish Medicines Consortium in November last year.

Taken as a daily pill, the drug for patients with advanced breast cancer is thought to slow the growth of the disease and delay the need for other treatments.

Lindsay (45) said: “It was a shock when I was told the cancer was back.

“I looked at my husband Steven then burst into tears.

“After a minute I just wanted to ask the doctors, what’s next? What are my options?

“I have a great life with a family I love to the moon and back. I refuse to let cancer stop me.

“I’m so proud to support Race for Life for all those who have survived and all those we’ve lost to cancer.”

Lindsay, who was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012, already knew how frightening the disease could be as she’d been there every step of the way to support her own mum, Angela Gilfillan, who died from lung cancer in 2009, aged just 62.

She recalls vividly the moment she was diagnosed with breast cancer on October 28, 2012, after returning from a holiday in Turkey with Steven (44).

She endured a lumpectomy to remove the tumour followed by six lots of chemotherapy and 19 sessions of radiotherapy.

Losing her hair was tough but it was a huge boost when she signed up for her first Race for Life 5K in Kirkcaldy in June 2013.

She said: “I did my first Race for Life with my daughter Stephanie, right after finishing cancer treatment and we’ve taken part every year since.

“We’ve raised more than £9000 thanks to the generosity of our friends and family.

“Their support keeps me feeling positive, even through the tough days.

“I was starting to feel like me again. I was back at work and enjoying life.

“And I was really looking forward to reaching the milestone of being clear of cancer for five years.

“I was only two months short of that five year mark when it came back.”

It was a hammerblow on August 17 last year at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh when tests showed there was cancer on her breast bone and liver.

Lindsay said: “I hadn’t felt ill at all so it was a shock.

“I took it harder this time. Steven asked: Is it treatable? Is it curable? The doctor said it’s treatable but not curable.

“That set me back a further step as the first time I’d had cancer in 2012 there had only ever been talk of it being curable.

“This time around the cancer was on the bone which doctors explained was a harder place to treat.”

Lindsay had to undergo two weeks of radiotherapy and started receiving injections every month to help strengthen her bones.

And tests just before Christmas showed the two tumours on Lindsay’s liver were shrinking.

She’s now planning a sunfilled holiday in Turkey with her husband Steven and their children, Steven (22) and Stephanie (27). They are all hugely proud of her.

Stephanie said: “Mum is a superwoman. She always keeps a smile on her face no matter what.

“Mum knows this time it’s a bit different but she’s determined to fight it. I’m really proud of everything she does to help other people. She’s my inspiration.”

Lisa Adams, Race for Life spokeswoman, said: “Sadly, most of us know someone whose life has been touched by cancer. But thanks to the huge progress that has been made, 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.”

Still time to show your support

There’s still time to join Lindsay by signing up – no matter what age you are.

For as well as the Pretty Muddy 5K for adults from 10.30am on Saturday, June 23, for the first time Pretty Muddy Kids is also coming to Beveridge Park. Girls and boys under the age of 12 can take on their own mud-splattered obstacle course challenge, with the fun starting at 9.45am.

Then on Sunday, June 24, hundreds of adult runners will take part in the Race for Life 5K and 10K routes, also starting at Beveridge Park.

Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, in partnership with Tesco, is an inspiring series of 5k, 10k, Pretty Muddy and marathon events which raise millions of pounds every year to help fund life-saving research.

Every day, 88 people are diagnosed with cancer in Scotland. One in two people in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer at some stage in their lives but the good news is more people are now surviving the disease than ever before.

Survival rates have doubled since the early 1970s and Cancer Research UK’s work has been at the heart of that progress. Its researchers in Glasgow and Edinburgh are trying to develop new drugs to target an aggressive type of brain tumour called neuroblastoma.

In Edinburgh the charity funds world-class researchers, including a team at the MRC Human genetics unit who are leading research into the genetic and environmental causes of bowel cancer.

This work is bringing scientists a step closer to tests that can spot people at higher risk of the disease so they can be offered tailored advice, screening and treatment to improve survival rates.

To enter any of the Race for Life events in Fife, visit Race For Life or call 0300 123 0770.