Leeds woman pledges to Race for Life in thanks for precious time with her mum

Jessica Hartley and her mum Carol
Jessica Hartley and her mum Carol
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Sunday will be tinged with sadness for Jessica Hartley.

For she lost her mum Carol to cancer 18 months ago – and on Mother’s Day, Jessica will be urging others to support a cause which gave the pair cherished extra time together.

After her mum was diagnosed with terminal cancer, Jessica gave up her job to care for her and the pair embarked on trips all over the country.

Jessica, from Batley, said: “After being diagnosed with cancer, my mum decided it was her time to live.

“My mum never had a down day. She smiled when she wanted to cry, she stayed strong when she felt at her weakest and she loved everything and everyone, when she had every reason to hate the situation she was put in by the illness she was given.”

Carol, who worked for Leeds City Council, was diagnosed with cancer – which had spread from her bile duct – in 2011.

Chemotherapy initially worked well but when Carol became ill with arthritis, Jessica gave up her job as an administrator to look after her mum full-time.

“The beginning of 2012 was the start of mine and my mum’s new life,” the 21-year-old said.

While she was well enough, the pair enjoyed mini breaks to make the most of their time.

In March 2012, Carol organised a big party for her 49th birthday, after being told she wasn’t likely to live until her 50th.

Later that year she was admitted to Wheatfields Hospice, in Headingley, and lost her fight in October.

Now Leeds-born Jessica has vowed to continue to take part in Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life every year, after first completing the race in 2012 with her mum cheering her on.

“So taking part in Race for Life and raising money for Cancer Research UK is something I want to do every year for as long as I live,” she said.

“I had 20 years with her, 20 beautiful years. I will cherish them and raise money for the people today and in the future who need the treatment, care and attention my mum had in those last months I had with her.”

* A troupe of dancers will inspire women to sign up for Race for Life on Sunday.

Jessica Hartley will be among the team at Trinity Leeds performing the ‘Cancer Slam’ to motivate mums, daughters, sisters and aunts to take part in the fundraising events.

A big screen will show the full routine and the steps that make up the dance so shoppers can join.

Race for Life 5km and 10km events take place at Temple Newsam in Leeds on June 29, while a Pretty Muddy obstacle course event is happening on June 28 there. Visit www.raceforlife.org or call 0845 600 6050.

Aliscia Coe, left, is pictured with sister Chelsea, and the Cancer Research UK Kids and Teens awared she was given ten years ago.
Photograph by Richard Walker/ www.imagenorth.net

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