A Bury mum is taking on the Manchester Half Marathon as a thank you to leading cancer centre The Christie for saving her life.
Dr Sarah Carlick says it will be one of her biggest ever challenges – second only to the cancer treatment she underwent after she was diagnosed with malignant melanoma. Sarah was diagnosed with melanoma in 2018 after she discovered a lump near her collar bone. Investigations showed it was in fact cancer in her lymph nodes which had spread from a previous cancerous mole elsewhere on her body.
Sarah, aged 47, who is mum to 12 year old Ella, underwent surgery to remove the lymph nodes, followed by a year of targeted therapy, which she finished last year, just 6 weeks before lockdown started. Fortunately, the targeted therapy through a clinical trial at The Christie was successful, but the treatment had a massive effect on Sarah, hugely impacting her physical fitness.
Sarah has spent the last 12 months building back her fitness and now feels ready to take on the 13-mile challenge as a thank you.
Sarah, who runs a safeguarding training and consultancy business and is a well-known figure in Manchester’s Jewish community, said: “Before I found the lump, I was incredibly fit. I used to go to the gym, box and run, but the cancer took all that away from me and I couldn’t move without a walking stick or a wheelchair. I wanted to run, but I couldn’t even walk. It was brutal, but my goal was to learn to walk again so I could eventually run a marathon. It has been a long, hard slog and I’m not sure I’m ready, but I am going to give it my best shot.”
Sarah’s mum, Roz Carlick, was also treated at The Christie for ovarian cancer 9 years ago, but sadly passed away. Sarah, with friends and family has since raised more than £13,000 in her mum's memory.
She said: “The Christie is like being part of an extended family. It offers the most human care I’ve ever experienced. It was a very emotional time for me as I’ve supported the hospital ever since my mum was treated there, and it felt very strange to then call on their teams for myself. I am so very grateful and I will be so proud to wear that blue t-shirt on the day as my own little way of saying thank you."
Sally Rowley, sporting events officer at The Christie charity, said: “Sarah has shown such determination through her illness, in her fundraising and in preparation for the Manchester Half Marathon. We’re so pleased she decided to do this for The Christie and wish her the very best of luck on the day. Any money she raises will be such a help to patients just like her.”
The Christie charity supports the work of The Christie NHS Foundation Trust providing enhanced services over and above what the NHS funds. 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 is able to provide to patients and their families.
The Christie NHS Foundation Trust was the first specialist trust to be rated as ‘Outstanding’ twice (in 2016 and 2018) by the health regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC). It referred to The Christie as ‘a leader in cancer care’ and ‘a pioneer in developing innovative solutions to cancer care.’ The CQC praised the Trust’s staff which it said ‘go the extra mile to meet the needs of patients and their families’ and that they were ‘exceptionally kind and caring.’ In 2017, the CQC rated The Christie as the best specialist trust in the country, and one of the top three trusts overall in England.