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Cancer survivor plans walk

PUBLISHED: 09:00 04 June 2010 | UPDATED: 09:46 01 August 2010

WHEN Derinda Starling was diagnosed with cancer it understandably came as a complete shock.

The mother of two grown-up boys had felt perfectly well and enjoyed a healthy lifestyle, neither being a smoker or a drinker.

WHEN Derinda Starling was diagnosed with cancer it understandably came as a complete shock.

The mother of two grown-up boys had felt perfectly well and enjoyed a healthy lifestyle, neither being a smoker or a drinker.

Mrs Starling was diagnosed with cancer of the oropharynx last July and endured gruelling sessions of radiotherapy and chemotherapy in a bid to beat the disease.

Doctors at the James Paget University Hospital at Gorleston removed a small lump from her neck and cancerous cells were discovered.

“In a way I was lucky it was caught so early,” said Mrs Starling, who lives at Ilketshall St Andrew.

“They did a few throat biopsies and found a few cells at the very base of my tongue and that was the primary site of the cancer.”

Mrs Starling has high praise for the James Paget Hospital, where the disease was promptly diagnosed, and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital where she was treated.

She is now planning a charity walk in a bid to raise funds for cancer research in the local area.

“As a cancer survivor, I feel it is really important to give something back to the researchers and doctors who helped me survive this terrible disease,” she said.

It is not the first time Mrs Starling's life has been affected by cancer. Her husband died of the disease 12-years-ago and her father died of stomach cancer three months later.

Mrs Starling said her family, including her partner Phil Griffith, had been “amazingly supportive”.

The walk is the first Mrs Starling, 61, has organised, and this year it is in association with the Harvest Moon Music and Arts Festival, in Beccles, who have chosen Cancer Research UK as their nominated charity for this year's event.

The walk will take place along Beccles Marsh Trail from noon on Saturday, August 14. Participants will have a choice of trail and the event is open to people of all ages and well-behaved dogs.

The aim is for the walk to be fun so anyone who wishes to enter in fancy dress stands a chance of winning a prize. Fancy dress is optional. Walkers are encouraged to stay and enjoy the festival afterwards.

Mrs Starling is also keen to hear from people who would consider being marshals or volunteers on the day.

Paul Fleet, area volunteer manager for Cancer Research UK, said the money raised would go towards research taking place in Norwich and at its new Cambridge Research Institute.

Registration to take part costs £4. To register and to receive a sponsor form call Mrs Starling on 01986 781727 or email derinda@longfieldbarn.plus.com.

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