Hundreds of women take part in Sunderland's Race For Life

Andrea Loraine-Maughn and her sister Julia Loraine-Ashett.

Andrea Loraine-Maughn and her sister Julia Loraine-Ashett.

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Hundreds of women donned pink and pulled on their running shoes today for Sunderland's Race for Life.

Ladies and girls of all ages gathered at Herrington Country Park in Sunderland for the first event of the Race for Life season, which raises money for Cancer Research UK.

More than 2,000 women gathered to take in two races - a 5k and a 10k.

Sunderland fitness expert and Apprentice star Katie Bulmer-Cooke warmed up the crowds, as well as running the race.

A minute's silence was held before the start in memory of the loved ones who competitors have lost.

One cancer survivor, Andrea Loraine-Maughan, 44, from Roker, who attended with her sister Julia Loraine-Ashett, shared her story on stage before the start.

The mum-of-two, who is an art of living advisor at Gentoo, said: “I found a lump in my right breast when I was in the shower and went straight to my GP for an emergency appointment.

"I was referred for a mammogram and also had biopsies. When I got the results three days later, the consultant came said there was no easy to way to say - the results showed it was cancer.

"We couldn’t believe it and my mum was sure they’d given us someone else’s results.”

Andrea has been treated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy and will take the hormone therapy drug Tamoxifen, which was developed by Cancer Research UK, for the next five years to reduce the risk of the cancer returning.

She said: “The last three rounds of chemotherapy was horrendous, but I knew I had to keep going, as I wanted rid of the cancer.

"Having been through cancer, I now share my story at Gentoo and with customers to help encourage people to be cancer-aware. The earlier someone can be diagnosed the better.”

Gentoo has raised more than £10,000 for Cancer Research UK through various fundraising activities, and informs staff about prevention and early diagnosis.