Wife, mother and grandmother, Kim Jackson was just 48 when she was told she had lung cancer. Now, seven years on, the special needs teacher from Melton Mowbray, is living cancer-free and hosting fundraiser after fundraiser in a bid to support fellow patients.
“When I was diagnosed with lung cancer I was completely overwhelmed. I was young, a non-smoker and didn’t even feel ill. I had just gotten married. In fact, my journey began two days before the wedding, with the scan confirming my lung cancer diagnosis happening ten days after my honeymoon.
“As you can imagine, we were incredibly emotional and utterly terrified. But I was lucky. My lung cancer was caught early. The doctors were certain it hadn’t spread so I was able to have surgery to remove the upper lobe of my left lung and lymph nodes. The scariest realisation came in a follow-up appointment when the consultant said that if it hadn’t been caught early, I might only have lived for another four years.
“This realisation made me start thinking about all the other lung cancer patients who aren’t as lucky as me because they are diagnosed too late, and I wanted to do something about that.
“I heard about Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation and was inspired by the charity’s aim to increase earlier diagnosis and treatment development for all lung cancer patients, and I just wanted to support such a wonderful organisation.
“My first fundraiser came from the most unlikely source. My best friend Nicola introduced me to Clubbercise classes, which is working out in the dark with glow sticks. Michelle, who runs the classes, has always been really supportive, encouraging me to strengthen my mind and body, and after one of the sessions I thought a two-hour Clubbercise event would be a fantastic way to raise money.
“And I wasn’t wrong! It really showed me how many people have been affected by the disease one way of another. This November marks our sixth year, as the annual event still draws in a crowd and during that time we’ve raised over £6,500.
One step further
“I’ve had a ball hosting the Clubbercise events but last year, myself and my husband were thinking about how we could spread the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation message even further.
“We started by putting a Christmas tree in our local Christmas tree festival. It’s a fantastic festival and gets a huge footfall, so for us it was the perfect place to get the message out there. We used Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation colours to decorate our tree and were able to share awareness leaflets in our community after the charity sent these to us. This year, we managed to go one step further as our local radio station talked about our tree, as did BBC News which was incredible.
“It feels so good to be raising awareness and funds for such a fantastic cause – even if it’s only in a small way. I just want to do what I can to help everyone have the same story as me – to get diagnosed early and go on to live their life.