Triple cancer survivor sounds a positive note at Race for Life Belfast

A Northern Ireland woman who has survived three devastating cancer diagnoses led the charge against the disease at Race for Life Belfast yesterday.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 23rd May 2022, 7:39 am
Updated Monday, 23rd May 2022, 10:19 am

Andrea Harvey was chosen as VIP to sound the starter horn ahead of a bumper day of events at the Stormont Estate with around 1,500 people taking part.

She was joined by Miss GB, Eden McCallister, who lent her support to the charity by stepping out to lead the 10K runners at the starting line.

More than £105,000 was raised for Cancer Research UK, vital funds which will enable scientists to find new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer – helping to save more lives.

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Andrea Harvey, right, and Miss GB Eden McCallister who started yesterday's 5K and 10K events

Andrea, who is from Belfast but lives in Lisburn, began to suffer with back pain in 2008 and after investigation, she was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.

Following chemotherapy she was told she was in remission. “It was wonderful to hear that good news,” said Andrea, “but as time passed I had a niggling feeling that something was not right.”

One year later, she found a lump on her neck and a biopsy revealed the cancer was back, but this time it was Hodgkin Lymphoma. More chemotherapy and surgery followed.

Fast forward 11 years and the unthinkable happened. Andrea found swollen lymph nodes and was red flagged for a CT scan.

“I was totally devastated when told I had a tumour on my right ovary and also my liver,” recalled Andrea, “but was really worried when they said I would need an MRI but would have to wait.”

Andrea’s gran died from ovarian cancer, so she was anxious to have the scan as soon as possible.

She added: “Eventually I had it done privately and this confirmed ovary, liver and pelvis. But my anxiety increased when the hospital said I could not have surgery due to Covid. This was in August 2020 and at that stage I had a 6cm ovarian tumour. When I eventually had surgery in February 2021 the tumour was 13cms.

“Cancer was a tough thing to go through and there were many frightening moments. But it’s thanks to advances in research and treatments that I’m here and can enjoy more special moments with my family and friends. I’m excited to play my part in helping to beat cancer for future generations.”

Andrea is slowly building her strength back up again, and keen to raise funds for vital research, she organised a local fundraising event a week ago raising £5,000.

The organisers of Race for Life Belfast have sent a heartfelt message of thanks to everyone who put their best foot forward as well as their supporters.

Jean Walsh, Cancer Research UK’s spokesperson in Northern Ireland, said: “We are incredibly grateful to everyone who took part in this year’s Race for Life Belfast.”