1st November 2019

Kelly Harrop

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An avid runner, lung cancer was the last thing on her mind. In fact, even when she received her diagnosis she was in such disbelief, she headed home and finished decorating her front room!

Kelly shared her story as part of our Follow my Lead campaign

“When they first told us in the doctors office that I had lung cancer, I don’t think it sunk in. Me and my husband went home, cranked up the music and we finished decorating the front room.

I don’t think it was until the middle of the night when we thought ‘Blimey! Did he really say that?’

I was diagnosed with lung cancer in December 2015 and had a third of my right lower lobe removed and some lymph nodes. I then I had 12 weeks of chemo.

I had my first session of chemo and I felt great so I thought I’ll just ask the nurse if I can go running! They gave me a funny smile and said just see how you feel.

Then, at 3’o’clock in the morning, I understood why they said just see how you feel. I felt terrible.

The chemotherapy was horrendous. It just made me feel ill all the time. I couldn’t go out places or see anyone if they had children because I didn’t want to get any infections. I couldn’t work. I wasn’t able to go to work for about six months, which was not very good for me.

Having a focus

During treatment, the thing I was most looking forward to was getting back running and getting back to work. I set myself a load of challenges to do when I was better which we’ve completed. That just kept me going really and uplifted me.

Kelly taking on Tough Mudder after lung cancer surgery and chemotherapy

After chemo finished, I just wanted to get my life back. The second the oncologist said I could go running, I was off! I think I did a 10k ten weeks after I finished my chemo.

It was hard, but I did it and I managed to run the whole way. And I just haven’t let it stop me really. I’ve done quite a few challenges since then. We’ve done a 10-mile Tough Mudder and the Yorkshire three peaks. I just keep going.

You’re so brave…

I didn’t tell many people I had lung cancer if I’m honest – but the ones I did, they didn’t really know what to say to you or how to be around you. They tiptoe around you, so I did put a brave face on.

I suppose it’s worse for them. I felt more sorry for them because they didn’t know how to deal with it.

People often describe me as brave, but I don’t think I’m brave. I’m just a normal girl who wanted to get my life back. I’m just so grateful it was diagnosed early and I could.”

Kelly shared her story as part of our Follow my Lead campaign for Lung Cancer Awareness Month 2019. Follow my Lead aims to improve conversations around lung cancer and help those affected to address and deal with a diagnosis.