A crawley woman who beat cancer will be taking her miniature schnauzer dogs walkies everyday in March to raise money for a cancer charity.
Doggie duo Burt and Alfie will walk 10,000 steps every day in March with their owner Olivia Forsyth.
Olivia, 38, who was successfully treated for thyroid cancer two-and-a-half years ago, is taking part in Cancer Research UK’s Walk All Over Cancer challenge.
And Burt, five, and Alfie, two, are only too happy to join her.
Olivia said: “For four days a week I’m pretty much tied to my desk and am not particularly active.
“I could really do with the extra exercise, plus of course, I’ll be supporting a cause very close to my heart.
“It’s a pretty simple challenge – and walking is good for you, whether you have a dog or not. And, we constantly need more funds to support Cancer Research UK’s life-saving work.”
The only sign of Olivia’s illness was when a lump appeared on her neck.
She said: “At the time, my husband David and I were moving house, and I thought it might be stress connected to that. But a couple of months later, it was still there so I went to get it checked.”
Doctors found a second lump which turned out to be a tumour on her thyroid gland.
“It came completely out of the blue and was absolutely shocking to be told I had cancer,” said Olivia.
She had immediate surgery to remove the tumour and the thyroid gland, but didn’t need further treatment, other than drugs.
“Thankfully, it was caught early, so I got away with just the surgery and taking thyroxin, plus I go for regular check-ups. I’m thankful it was picked up so early,” she said.
Lynn Daly, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for Sussex, said: “Signing up to Walk All Over Cancer is a great way to kick-start a healthier lifestyle, especially with Spring just around the corner.
“Walking 10,000 steps is equal to about five miles, based on the average person’s stride. That’s quite a challenge for many people. But adopting small lifestyle changes – from walking to work or taking the stairs instead of the lift – can help make the goal feel achievable.
“And for anyone who wants to push themselves further, they can upgrade to the 20,000 steps a day option.”
“In the South East, almost a quarter (22 per cent) of people get less than 30 minutes of physical activity a week.
Not only will the challenge help raise money, it has health benefits as well. Moderate exercise can help build stamina, burn excess calories and protect against a range of diseases including cancer.”
Lynn added: “Like Olivia, everyone who is sponsored to go those extra miles will be making a real difference to the 130 people diagnosed with cancer every day in the South East.
“Cancer survival has doubled since the early 1970s and Cancer Research UK’s work has been at the heart of that progress – but every step our doctors, nurses and scientists take relies on donations from the public and the tireless fundraising of our supporters.”