Bexhill friends Race for Life

TWO childhood friends who both overcame cancer ran the Race for Life on Sunday as part of their campaign to give something back.

Jane Humphrey, of De La Warr Road, and Mechele Midwinter of Pebsham completed the Eastbourne Half Marathon in 2007 and the London MoonWalk on May 16. They hope that Race for Life, which took place in Alexandra Park on Sunday, will increase the 500 total they have already raised for cancer charities.

Both women have strong motivation to help. Mechele contracted cervical cancer when her third child was born, and had to raise her baby whilst fighting the disease.

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Jane was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, finishing radiotherapy in February.

She said: "I felt that I wanted to get fit again, and I wanted to give something back to the Macmillan Nurses and the staff at the Conquest hospital, who were so good."

The pair grew up together, attending the old Bexhill Down School. The picture shows them aged around ten, having taken part in a fundraising race for Bexhill Athletic Club.

A few years ago they jointly decided a challenge was needed, and trained for the Eastbourne Half Marathon.

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Jane said: "Neither of us had run for many years, so we were thrilled when we completed it in two hours 27 minutes.

"During my treatment, Mechele has been a great friend, it was my friends and family that gave me the strength to get through.

"We discussed our next challenge, we heard about the Playtex MoonWalk and I felt this would be the perfect opportunity to give something back to breast cancer charity for all the wonderful care and treatment I received.

"So once my radiotherapy had finished we started training for our 26 mile powerwalk. It gave me something to focus on, a goal to get back to being fit and healthy."

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The ladies decorated their bras with pink feathers and glitter, completing the nighttime walk in 6hrs 58mins at 6.30am and passing Paul O'Grady on the way.

Jane said: "The most touching moment was when we passed a young woman sitting on some steps congratulating us and saying how much she appreciated what we were doing, as she was going through breast cancer treatment herself. It made me feel that there is a light at the end of the tunnel because that was me just under a year ago."

Mechele said: "We passed the Royal Marsden Hospital where I had all my treatment. We have both suffered and been helped, we want to help in turn.

"Race for Life is our next step. Everyone has been very generous in sponsoring us."