A woman who fought back from the brink of death is taking on a gruelling Icelandic lava trek to celebrate her survival.
Angela Robson, 37, is one in just a handful of women chosen to test themselves with this summer’s expedition alongside team captains Vicky Pattison from I’m a Celebrity and fitness expert Chloe Madeley.
Two years ago, as she lay in intensive care at Sunderland Royal Hospital, Angela never thought she’d be able to take on such a feat: a 58km hike through lava trails and glacial landscape, including scaling a 3,600ft hill on the first day.
Her parents were told to prepare for the worst after her organs began to fail when an abscess led to blood poisoning.
It was the third major health scare in six years for Angela, who underwent the trauma of being diagnosed with breast cancer at just 29 and having treatment for abnormal cells following a routine smear test at 33.
After coming through it all, Angela is determined to raise as much as she can for the Coppafeel charity, which encourages women to regularly check their breasts so that more cancer cases can be detected at an early stage.
It’s a cause close to Angela’s heart after she fought for a diagnosis for breast cancer.
“I’d been poorly for a while. I’d just got a new job and was poorly all the time,” she explained. “I had lots of tests, but nothing had shown up. Then, when I was in the bath, I noticed a lump.
“I went to the doctors but they said I was too young to have breast cancer, but I refused to leave the hospital room until they did a test for breast cancer. I was lucky that I pushed for it.”
After Angela’s suspicions were confirmed she underwent six rounds of chemotherapy, a 15-day course of radiotherapy and took medication for five years.
She was still taking the cancer medication when four years later she was dealt another devastating blow. After a smear test, doctors found she had stage 3 abnormal cervical cells, which meant she had a high risk of developing cervical cancer.
Angela, who underwent a partial removal of her cervix as a result of the diagnosis, said: “It was such a big shock, I never thought lightning could strike twice. You do everything right, and still something like this can happen. Luckily, it was caught through the smear test.”
She was on the road to recovery when, aged 35, an abscess resulted in blood poisoning.
“I didn’t think much of it at first, it was just a spot on my backside” she recalled. “But the pain became so bad I had to go to hospital. They admitted me and said it needed draining, and the next I knew I was in intensive care. The abscess had led to septicaemia and my organs had started to shut down. My parents were told to say goodbye to me. Fortunately, a doctor thought to change my medication and the change in my condition was amazing. I still suffered muscle wastage though and had to learn to walk again properly.”
Two years later and Angela, who is engaged to Craig Hazard, is back on her feet and taking on the mammoth challenge to raise funds for Coppafeel.
“I saw a story in Fabulous magazine about the challenge asking for people to take part, and I decided I really wanted to push my body to the limit,” she said. “My body has been through so much, but I think this is just what I need.”
Ahead of the Landmannalaugar route trek on August 7-11, Angela is juggling raising the £2,950 needed to take part with going on regular walks with pug Dylan to build up her stamina.
As well as raffle prizes donated by local businesses, she’s hosting an ‘80s tribute night at the New Ivy Club in Suffolk Street, Hendon, on June 11.
Angela said: “There’s only two teams of eight taking part, with Vicky and Chloe as the team captains. I couldn’t believe I got chosen, I’d love to have Vicky as my captain as she’s Northern, I’ve invited her to open my tribute night.
“I can’t wait to get over there and get started. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
l To donate to Angela’s trek, visit https://icelandcoppafeel.everydayhero.com/uk/angela-robson. To donate raffle prizes for Angela’s fundraising email firstname.lastname@example.org.