"Challenges show I’m living life to the full with cancer"

Press release posted 2 May 2024

Chris Thomasson-Dale is 63 and lives in Horwich with her husband, who is also called Chris. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer just 2 weeks before her wedding in June 2022. She noticed that she was losing a lot of weight and went to her GP. She had a scan and a biopsy, and they told her it was stage 4 ovarian cancer, the most advanced kind. She got married and was then referred to The Christie, a specialist cancer centre in Manchester, for treatment. 

“As a former nurse, I knew there was something wrong, but I didn’t expect to get the diagnosis I got. When I arrived at The Christie, I expected to be told that I would need surgery, but I was told that my cancer was too advanced to be operated on. They could only offer me chemotherapy, so that was a shock and quite difficult to take in,” comments Chris.

Chris, a keen walker who enjoys watching rugby league, had 6 cycles of chemotherapy. Initially, blood tests showed that her tumours were responding to treatment, but this didn’t last for long as her cancer was aggressive. She then tried a targeted treatment followed by a combination of 2 different types of chemotherapy, neither of which worked for long. She also tried a clinical trial, which worked well for 4 months, and is now exploring other options.

“My journey has been a rollercoaster so far. I know that nothing is promised, but I’m making the most of every day and know that taking part in research will help the next generation of people who come after me.  I’ve had different types of treatment and been on a trial, and it’s all giving me more valuable time to spend doing the things I love with the people I love.”

Chris is living her life to the full. Joined by family and friends, she started her year by walking 50 miles in January to raise money for an ovarian cancer charity. Not satisfied with completing that challenge, she is jetting off to Spain at the end of April to walk part of the Camino de Santiago with her husband. Known as ‘The Way of St James’ in English, it’s a famous walk that ends at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain. They’ll be walking 70 miles over a week.

A photo of Christie patient Chris Thomasson-Dale and her husband Chris standing in front of a lake.
Chris with her husband Chris

In May, she’ll be doing a sponsored skydive – jumping out of a plane at 11,000 feet – as well as taking on the Great Manchester Run – a 10k – to raise money for The Christie Charity.

“The Christie has given me so much, so I wanted to do something to give back. Awareness of ovarian cancer isn’t as high as for other types, so I also want to share my story to help others.”

“Taking on these challenges is a big thing for me but I am proof that people with cancer can live full and active lives, even while on treatment. I’m not going to let cancer hold me back.”

Lindsey Farthing, Sporting Events Manager at The Christie Charity commented, “The Christie Charity provides enhanced services over and above what the NHS is able to fund, so without amazing fundraisers like Chris we wouldn’t be able to do that. We are doubly grateful to her because, without people like her taking part in research, there would be no new cancer treatments. We wish her well for the skydive and the 10k and will be cheering her on all the way.”

The Christie Charity supports the work of The Christie NHS Foundation Trust providing enhanced services over and above what the NHS is able to fund. This includes money for care and treatment, research, education, and extra patient services. Gifts from the public make a huge difference to the care and treatment that The Christie can provide to patients and their families.

“Ovarian cancer is the sixth most common cancer in women and, because it can be hard to diagnose at an early stage, around two-thirds of women come to us at a later stage when it’s harder to treat. As a result, early diagnosis is important.

“One of Chris’s main symptoms was weight loss, but others include bloating, feeling full quickly, and persistent abdominal pain. I would encourage anyone who is concerned to go to their GP.

Ovarian cancer, like all cancers, is not just one disease, so research into new treatments is important. We have over 650 trials taking place at The Christie at any one time and are proud of being world leaders in cancer research.

Dr. Jurjees Hasan, Chris’s consultant

Last updated: May 2024