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Hornbeam teaching assistant Jayne Davies undertakes Walk All Over Cancer after 'pregnancy bulge' ovarian cancer and breast cancer

A woman whose pregnancy-like belly turned out to be cancer, is embarking on a walking challenge with her dog Teddy.

Teaching assistant Jayne Davies, from Deal, was diagnosed with two different, unrelated cancers within 10 months.

She is still recovering from treatment, but has committed to walk 10,000 steps a day in March to Walk All Over Cancer.

The 47 year-old's challenge is in aid of Cancer Research UK.

She said: “It will definitely be a challenge for me as I still have pain in my legs and feet caused by lymphoedema. So, it won’t exactly be a walk in the park, but I’m determined to do it!”.

Ms Davies is a mum of three and a teaching assistant at Hornbeam Primary School in Deal.

She has always been fit and active but in February 2019, she noticed her stomach had started to swell.

Hornbeam teaching assistant Jayne Davies with Teddy
Hornbeam teaching assistant Jayne Davies with Teddy

“It seemed to come on overnight and became so swollen it felt like a pregnancy stomach,” she said.

Her colleagues encouraged her to see her GP who gave her antibiotics, thinking it was a urine infection.

“I wasn’t concerned as I wasn’t in any pain, apart from a twinge in my back. But the swelling didn’t go down and eventually I went to the hospital to get it checked out. A scan revealed a mass on my ovaries but even then it didn’t cross my mind it might be cancer,” she recalled.

However, biopsy results revealed she had ovarian cancer. Surgeons removed a tumour weighing half a stone which had been crushing her other organs.

“The doctors couldn’t believe how big it was and what I’d been carrying around.

Jayne Davies and partner Mike
Jayne Davies and partner Mike

“But the good news was that all the cancer had been removed and I didn’t need further treatment.”

She returned to work in April feeling good and grateful the cancer had been stopped in its tracks and she could carry on with her normal life.

Six months later Ms Davies woke up one morning to discover the swelling in her stomach had returned.

“My heart sank. I thought ‘the cancer’s back’.”

She went for a CT scan, with her partner, Mike, and got unexpected news.

"It was only when I looked at Mike that the enormity of it hit me. I will never forget the look of pain and shock on his face. I knew I had to be strong for everyone..."

“I’d geared myself up to the reality that the cancer had returned but doctors told me everything was fine with my stomach. However, the scan had revealed a lump on my left breast.

“When they told me I had breast cancer, I wasn’t completely shocked. It was only when I looked at Mike that the enormity of it hit me. I will never forget the look of pain and shock on his face. I knew I had to be strong for everyone.

“I didn’t cry, I just took in what the doctor was saying and thought ‘Right, let’s do something about this’.”

Ms Davies was told she had a fast-growing grade 3 tumour and would need a lumpectomy, followed by chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

“The two cancers were not related and there was no genetic link. I was just very unlucky,” she said.

Liverpool fan Jayne Davies had a positive attitude to beating cancer throughout her treatment
Liverpool fan Jayne Davies had a positive attitude to beating cancer throughout her treatment

“The doctors also couldn’t explain why my stomach had started to swell again, but if it hadn’t done that, the lump in my breast would not have been spotted as early.”

Ms Davies underwent the lumpectomy in January last year, followed by eight cycles of chemotherapy and 20 daily sessions of radiotherapy, which began just as the country went into lockdown last March.

“It was a tricky time for us all but I wasn’t too concerned about catching Covid in hospital. I was just worried about my treatment being delayed. As it turned out, everything went to plan and I’m so grateful for that as I know many people had treatment put on hold.”

When she had the treatment for the ovarian cancer, Ms Davies told her older children, Rhys and Celyn, but not her youngest Ryan. But with the breast cancer treatment, she knew she had to tell him.

“I was dreading his reaction but I decided to take control of the situation. When I went into the garden, bits of my hair blew away so I told Mike to shave it all off.

Ex-Liverpool ace Daniel Agger recorded a special message for Hornbeam Primary teaching assistant Jayne Davies
Ex-Liverpool ace Daniel Agger recorded a special message for Hornbeam Primary teaching assistant Jayne Davies

“When Ryan saw my bald head, he burst into tears and ran out of the room. He told me he was worried the children at my school would make fun of me. But I told him it wouldn’t be for long and it would grow back and that made him feel better.”

She posted a ‘bald’ picture on Facebook and was overwhelmed at the response.

“I got messages from people all over the country who were incredibly supportive and kind.

"I’m a massive Liverpool fan so I also posted my photo on the Fields of Anfield Road fan page and the comments I got there were incredibly moving and uplifting.

"It went a long way to helping my recovery.”

"Remember... You'll never walk alone..."

Celyn also contacted Jayne’s favourite ex-Liverpool player Daniel Agger and the Danish defender sent her a personal video message, wishing her well.

The footage, hich can be seen at youtube.com/watch?v=3FXZHd5qzAI&feature=youtu.be, shows Agger say: "I hope you are doing well under the circumstances.

"I want to wish you all the best and make you remember 'You'll never work alone'."

“I was blown away that this gentleman had gone out of his way to do this,” she said.

While Ms Davies was going through her first bout of treatment, Celyn took part in Cancer

Research UK’s Walk All Over Cancer challenge and raised more than £800. This year, Jayne has decided to take the challenge on herself.

Accompanying her will be her dog Teddy, given to her by her nephew Dylan, who had cystic fibrosis and, poignantly, died recently aged just 22.

“Dylan knew I wanted a dog and bought Teddy for me as a therapy dog to help me get through my chemo.”

“He was supposed to be a calming and soothing little dog but he’s turned out to be an absolute lunatic! He hasn’t had the normal socialisation because of lockdown, so he is excited to see everyone and everything! I know he’ll keep me on my toes when we are out on our daily walks!”

Ms Davies and Teddy have matching luminous pink coats to wear while pounding the streets. She has had amazing support from the community and has already raise more than £4,000.

“I want to give something back. I’ve benefitted from treatment for two different cancers in the space of 10 months and now I feel positive enough to look forward to my future, so Cancer Research UK is a cause very close to my heart.

“It can be hard to motivate yourself to go for walks during the cold, dark winter months. But Walk All Over Cancer is a simple way to get a bit more active while raising funds for life-saving research. Spring is just around the corner too, so registering and making a public pledge to take part in could help people steel your resolve.

“And if you’ve got a dog, just think about how happy they will be at the prospect of extra ‘walkies’!

Lynn Daly Cancer Research UK’s spokesperson for Kent said: “We’re really grateful for Jayne and Teddy’s support, and we hope lots of people will be inspired to follow in their footsteps.

“We all want 2021 to have a more positive outlook. So this is a chance to give yourself a boost by committing to get more active and having an achievable goal to aim for - all in aid of a good cause. Signing up to Walk All Over Cancer is a safe and simple way to show support during these challenging times.”

Ten thousand steps is equal to about five miles, based on the average person’s stride, so by the end of March participants will have clocked up more than 150 miles.

That can be quite a challenge for some but small changes can add up, like walk and talk conference calls, exploring local beauty spots or treating the dog to extra-long walks.

Walk All Over Cancer is now integrated with FitBit, so participants can automatically publish their step count on their fundraising page during March.

About 52,000 people are diagnosed with cancer every year om the South east.

Cancer Research UK currently funds almost half of all publicly funded cancer research in the UK and is the only UK charity fighting more than 200 types of cancer.

But Covid-19 has slowed down its income streams. Before the pandemic, it was able to spend £34 million in the South East alone last year on some of the UK’s leading scientific and clinical research.

To sign up and receive a free fundraising pack, with tips and ideas to help with the challenge, visit cruk.org/walkallover.

To donate to Jayne’s fundraising page click here

Read more: All the latest news from Deal

Source: These data were extracted from the Public Health England’s Cancer Analysis System,

snapshot CAS1902. Accessed 23/09/2020.This work is only possible because

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