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Yorkshire author struck twice by cancer to ‘Walk for Yorkshire’ as part of new charity challenge

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Emma Jacob


A Yorkshire author who was diagnosed twice with cancer is taking on a 150-mile challenge to help raise funds for vital research.

Hannah Russell, who is best known for her book series ‘Little Alf and Friends’, is taking part in Yorkshire Cancer Research’s ‘We Walk for Yorkshire’ challenge.

The charity, which funds pioneering research to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer in the region, is challenging people across Yorkshire to walk toward a collective total of 31,000 miles throughout May, representing the number of people diagnosed with cancer in Yorkshire each year.

The campaign aims to encourage people to get outdoors and enjoy being active, while also raising awareness of the important role exercise plays in cancer prevention and treatment.

Hannah, 27, was inspired to join the challenge following her own cancer experience.

I wanted to support Yorkshire Cancer Research and get involved in the campaign because I’ve had cancer myself, so it’s a cause that’s important to me. I want to help raise awareness of the charity and the important work it does, but also to try and encourage people to go to their doctor if something doesn’t feel right.”

Hannah was diagnosed with cancer aged 21, after she started feeling pain in her right hip. She was referred for further tests and was diagnosed with sarcoma, a cancer which is found in the soft tissue. After having chemotherapy and radiotherapy to treat the cancer, Hannah was given the ‘all-clear’.

Unfortunately, a year later, she was diagnosed with skin cancer and had further radiotherapy and 14 surgeries to remove the cancer.

I was advised to get out walking after my treatment as part of my rehabilitation, and I tried to walk a little bit further every day. I find walking really peaceful and tranquil, and when you’ve been through so much it’s a great way to get out and focus your mind on something.

“I’m really excited to take on a new challenge as part of We Walk for Yorkshire. We’re so lucky in Yorkshire to have lots of lovely countryside to explore, and as part of my 150-mile challenge I want to get out and complete some of the Dales Way.”

Exercise after a cancer diagnosis can help reduce side effects from treatment, speed up recovery, and reduce the likelihood of the cancer coming back by up to 66%.

Dr Kathryn Scott, Chief Executive at Yorkshire Cancer Research, said: “There is growing evidence that exercise plays a vital role in cancer treatment and recovery, as well as helping to prevent cancer. That’s why we’re inviting people across the region to get active and take part in ‘We Walk for Yorkshire’."

“Not only will it help raise funds for vital cancer research across the region, the challenge is also an opportunity for people to come together, enjoy everything our region has to offer, and do something positive for their own health and wellbeing.”

Chief Executive at Yorkshire Cancer Research

Yorkshire Cancer Research funds world leading research and services in exercise and cancer. The charity runs the Active Together programme, a service which offers people with cancer in Yorkshire personalised exercise, nutrition and wellbeing support.

People can sign up to take part in We Walk for Yorkshire, choose their own challenge and set up a fundraising page to share with friends and family.

We walk for Yorkshire branded banner featuring a supporter walking outside