Taking up the challenge in memory of their loved ones

St Helens Star: Andrea Illidge and Rachel Bates Andrea Illidge and Rachel Bates

TWO shop workers are among thousands gearing up to complete the Race for Life to raise funds for cancer, in memory of relatives who died from the disease.

Andrea Illidge, manager of Girl Talk in Church Square Shopping centre, and colleague Rachel Bates will both be taking on the challenge at Haydock on July 13.

Thousands of women are expected to take part in the event, organised by Cancer Research UK.

It will be the second time that the pair have taken part and they plan to beat their time from 2012, when they last entered the 10k run, wearing fancy dress.

Andrea, from Sutton, lost her maternal grandfather Peter Rigby from Thatto Heath to prostate cancer in 2007, while Rachel’s dad died from bowel cancer.

Former Sutton High pupil Andrea says she always remembers her grandfather suffering with the disease, before his death at the age of 78.

The 33-year-old said: “When he was first diagnosed the doctors said he would only probably live five years – but he survived for 10. “He died in July 2007 and then my gran died in St Helens Hospital in the December – she’s had several strokes and basically she was pining for my granddad.

“Not long after my mum found she had a cancerous lump on the side of her nose and had to have an operation to remove it, in 2009. The doctors took skin from behind her ear to cover the patch and she does seem now to be fully recovered.

“So I am really running the Race for Life for cancer research because it’s affected both my family and some of my friends as well.”

She has been training for the race with Rachel whose dad Alan, a psychiatric nurse died last summer.

“We did the first Race for Life in 2012, after he had been diagnosed, but he was very poorly last year and I didn’t feel able,” said Rachel, 32.

“We weren’t that fast last time, we were wearing fairy wings and other bits of fancy dress that slowed us down.

“The main thing is to compete it and to raise money. Our customers have been very generous so far, as have our family and friends.”

The day gives women the opportunity to complete a 5k or 10k run to raise money to help beat cancer.

Women will start arriving for the event at 9.45am with an aerobics warm-up to take place at 10.45am. This will include a performance of the ‘Cancer Slam’, a fun and feisty dance routine aimed at harnessing the passion and determination of participants.

The races will then start at 11am.

Women wishing to participate by walking, jogging or running either of the courses should log on to raceforlife.org or call 0845 600 6050.

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