Jennifer battles on to finish wall walk

A Bedlington Station resident who has been living with cancer for eight years hit the hiking trail to raise funds.

Saturday, 26th May 2018, 12:01 pm
Updated Saturday, 26th May 2018, 12:06 pm
Jennifer Rushton and Julian Lowrie at the start of their Hadrians Wall Walk challenge from Bowness-on-Solway in Cumbria to Wallsend.

And Jennifer Rushton managed to keep going, even when she was in a lot of pain, to successfully complete the 84-mile Hadrian’s Wall Walk over four days.

She has raised about £1,400. The money will go to Bloodwise, a UK cancer charity, and the oncology day unit at Wansbeck General Hospital.

Joining her was a family member, Julian Lowrie, who had done these kind of treks before. He was pleased to complete the Hadrian’s Wall Walk as he had to pull out before the end on his previous attempt.

Jennifer was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s follicular lymphoma – a low grade indolent blood cancer that is treatable but not curable – in March 2010.

She was put on Watch and Wait treatment until the cancer went into her spleen and she needed chemotherapy treatment every four weeks over a six-month period that started in summer 2016.

The 44-year-old is currently having Rituximab maintenance treatment, which involves an injection in her stomach every eight weeks, and this will continue until the end of the year.

“I felt that doing this walk and the training for it would help me deal with the side effects of the treatment better and it would enable me to give something back to the charity and hospital unit that have supported me,” she said.

“I also wanted to show others living with this disease that you can still successfully achieve major goals.

“This was one of the best achievements I’ve done in my life, even though it was one of the worst things I’ve done in terms of how I felt during the walk.”

She did her training walks during the very cold winter, but she gained confidence and increased the mileage to the point where she did a 16-mile walk.

However, this programme was disrupted because of a period of illness just a few weeks before the start date.

The first half of the challenge went well, although by the end of the second day Jennifer’s legs were a bit sore and she had blisters.

She said: “Day three was tough and I felt very sore at the end of it.

“My husband, Vaughn, drove to where we were staying in Chollerford and he came with blister plasters, which really helped on the final day. My three sons also supported me in preparation for the challenge.

“Despite the pain, I was determined to finish the walk and Julian was great at keeping me going.”

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