Mum fighting cancer is training for 10k challenge with JOG Derbyshire help
Hazel has stayed as active as possible throughout her cancer treatment.
Flying in the face of adversity, Hazel Waddingham, 43, has responded to sustaining hip, spine and pelvis injuries in the RAF and then being diagnosed with cancer in the most admirable way possible – by raising money for charitable causes. The indomitable single mum, from Brailsford, has now signed up to JOG Derbyshire to help her prepare for her latest challenge…
Fighting back against breast cancer
"I served in the RAF and was injured and then, almost two years ago, I was told I had an aggressive form of breast cancer (grade three).
"When you are diagnosed with cancer, you are put in a horrible position and it can go one of two ways. The reaction from some people is to cut you off and with others it can make them stick like glue.
"One who did stick was a firefighter called Martin Lown, whose company allowed me to do the outdoor activities I love when lots of others wanted to walk away.
Starting with a three peaks challenge
"Inspired by others, I decided to start fundraising. I climbed first Scafell Pike on crutches, which was my 'test event', and then I did Ben Nevis for SSAFA, the soldiers, sailors and air force charity, because of my past service history, raising £1,400.
"Last year I did Snowdon to complete the three peaks and this time I raised £1,200 for the Fire Fighters Charity.
"When I was doing Ben Nevis, the word got around with the media coverage because I was climbing on crutches while having chemotherapy, and that's when another firefighter joined Martin to help the effort on the Snowdon climb.
Success - reaching the summit of Snowdon took a huge effort from Hazel and her contingent.
Enter "The Flame"
"The Flame – is the equivalent to The Stig on Top Gear – so he does all his fundraising challenges in the firefighting gear and breathing apparatus.
"I saw him running a half marathon for charity at Silverstone and I was amazed how everyone of all different shapes and sizes were doing something to try to better themselves and help others by raising money for charity.
"I'm inspired by people who have made me think 'if they can do it, so can I'.
Setting a 10k trail run aim
"The Flame emailed me with details of the run at Kedleston Hall and that's when I decided to set myself the challenge of doing a 10k.
"I managed to do the 5k trail run at Kedleston just recently, which was a test for the real thing, and I really enjoyed it. I prefer the trails than the road running because of the scenery to look at and the different terrain which keeps it more interesting.
"I only live up the road from Kedleston in Brailsford, but I had never heard of the trail run, so it's great to get involved now.
Hazel pictured with The Flame.
Motivated by her children
"It is my children who motivate me. I'm a single parent and I want to be around a lot longer for them, and these challenges are the best thing I can do in the circumstances while I'm fighting the cancer.
"There are studies that show an increase in running can help reduce tumour sizes and also slows down cancer growth. I want to give myself the best chance. I've already had five months of chemo and an operation, and jogging also helps me to relax and get away from everything.
"A lot of people run along with their headphones on, but I have to concentrate and watch where I'm putting my feet because of my previous injuries. When I was on Snowdon I disappeared down a ditch! It's usually when the ground isn't level, so sometimes I have to walk for a while for my own safety.
“It’s great to have someone who believes in you”
"When you get into a fitness activity, sometimes taking those first steps are the hardest - and it was extremely nerve-wracking to go for that initial 5k in the first place.
"It's like when you are standing on the edge of the cliff with a parachute, either you stand back or you go for it and jump. It's something you have to try.
"The Flame has run half marathons and marathons – all with the three stone heavy gear on - and I thought if he could do it, then so could I. I'm a slow jogger, but he has encouraged me and been an inspiration.
"It's great to have someone who believes in you. At one point, I emailed him to say I can't do it, but he told me that I could and he was so positive. If you want to do something yourself, it's a good idea to get as many people to support you as you can.
Hazel at the finish after completing the Kedleston Hall 5k trail run.
Joining JOG Derbyshire
"When I went along to Kedleston I was nervous, but I met such nice people and that's what encouraged me to join JOG Derbyshire.
"I've actually just joined the Trotters group run by Helen Purdy. I want to join the group for a number of reasons, including the social environment.
"I work from home and my social group is very limited as a result, so for me to go out in the fresh air, meet new people and have a laugh and a chat is great.
A June jogging target
"The Flame is going to help me run the 10k, which we have planned in for June 26. I'm doing it then because it will be a two-year celebration that I have been fighting the cancer. It has always been one of my dreams to run an event like this.
"I've got other things planned for the future to raise money – I want to climb the O2 Arena – but this 10k is a challenge I want to do for me. I can't think what people visiting Kedleston are going to think when they see a firefighter running around with me in all his gear!
"People who have been doing so much fundraising has inspired me, so if I can inspire other people, that would make me really happy."
Hazel reaches the end of a course of chemotherapy treatment.
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