A BRAVE schoolgirl will celebrate five years of being cancer free by running the Sunderland Race for Life.
Abigail Devlin is marking her sixth birthday tomorrow and five years of being in remission, by taking part in the Cancer Resarch UK event at Herrington Country Park.
At four months old, Abigail was diagnosed with neuroblastoma – a cancer of the specialised nerve cells.
Tests also revealed she had a tumour in her abdomen, which was attached to her left kidney.
Abigail, of Shiney Row, was referred to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, where she began chemotherapy.
In May 2007, just three days before her first birthday, Abigail underwent an operation to have the tumour and her left kidney removed.
She spent the next two days in intensive care and was allowed home the day before her first birthday.
Abigail plans on marking the two occasions by taking part in tomorrow’s Cancer Research UK Race for Life with her mum Nichola and two pals.
Nichola, 26, said: “It was five years on Thursday since she had the operation and we wanted to do something to mark it so it seemed like a good idea to do it.
“We’ve had T-shirts printed with one of the baby pictures of Abigail when she was poorly on it and one of her now.
“We’re doing the race to help raise money but more so for all the children who suffer from forms of childhood cancer, which is not often talked about.”
Despite making a full recovery from the cancer, Abigail still suffers from problems with her bowel and bladder after the operation.
But the Shiney Row Primary School pupil refuses to let this get in the way of being a bubbly youngster.
“The operation was the worst day of our lives,” said Nichola, who has done the race every year since Abigail was in hospital.
“She was in surgery from 9.30am until after 2pm and intensive care for two days. It was horrendous.
“She’s doing really well now and is enjoying school and her friends, and we’re really looking forward to the race.”
To sponsor Abigail, visit www.raceforlifesponsorme.org/5-years-in-remmison
A SEA of pink will descend on Herrington Country Park tomorrow as thousands of women take part in the Race for Life.
More than 3,200 women, including cancer survivors and people taking part in memory or celebration or their loved ones, will walk, jog or run the 5km and 10km routes to raise money for Cancer Research UK.
Holly Howey, Race for Life event manager for the North East, said: “Looking at all the back signs that women wear at the event, declaring why they are taking part in Race for Life, is a very emotional experience.
“Many have survived cancer themselves or are participating in tribute to their loved ones whose lives have been touched by the disease.
“I feel so proud and grateful to everyone who is taking part in Race for Life in Sunderland, and to all the family, friends and colleagues who are supporting them.”
* See Monday’s Echo and visit www.sunderlandecho.com for Race for Life coverage.