Marathon runner's efforts help to raise money for the Love Your Nodes appeal
It was the first time she had run a marathon but it proved to be a great success for Emma Richbell who completed the course and at the same time raised money for a charity close to her heart.
For the 47-year-old athlete, who lives in Newton Croft, Sudbury, clocked in at 5 hours 15 minutes after taking part in the Brighton Marathon and has so far raised £1,315.10 for the My WiSH charity, which supports the West Suffolk Hospital, in Bury St Edmunds.
Emma, who works as a food and safety officer for Babergh and Mid Suffolk district councils, took part in the race on April 14 with the aim of helping to boost the funds of the charity’s Love Your Nodes appeal.
For she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 and wanted to repay the hospital for the great care and attention she received.
She said: “Being diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 39 was a bit of a shock to say the least. But the staff in the Breast Care and Oncology departments at West Suffolk Hospital were just brilliant.
“Nine months of treatment followed and by the end of 2011 I was pretty much sorted. Some physical and mental scars remained but I was discharged with the reassuring status of ‘disease-free’.”
However, the treatment said it left her short of “bikini-ready” and was offered further breast surgery to improve her appearance and was carried out at the West Suffolk in the spring of 2017.
“I am so pleased with the result. I could not be more grateful and the treatment I received at the hospital was absolutely fantastic,” she said.
She runs with the Sunday Runday Funday group in Sudbury and had already taken part in the Colchester half marathon and the Great East Run but decided that if she was going to do the marathon it would be for a good cause.
“So when I decided I wanted to run a marathon (yes, bit crazy I know but that’s another story) running for West Suffolk Hospital’s My WiSH charity was the obvious choice.”
My WiSH launched the Love Your Nodes appeal in July 2016 with the aim of raising £25,000 for a SentiMag machine to help with the removal of lymph nodes for breast cancer patients and just six months after the launch it had reached its target.
However, the appeal hasn't ended there. Each vial of beads used in the SentiMag costs £200 per patient so the charity continues to fundraise to ensure the cost of these are covered to help all the future patients at West Suffolk Hospital.
Emma said: “The SentiMag is an amazing machine which targets the first node allowing the surgeon to know exactly which one to remove. Used in conjunction with blue dye, the surgeon will also inject microscopic magnetic beads into the patient’s breast. These beads will then run through the lymphatic system collecting in the first node and therefore pinpointing exactly which one to remove. This prevents the need to cherry pick other nodes to ensure the correct one is removed and lowers the risk of lymphodema dramatically.”
She praised her husband Paul for his support with her running and also the Sudbury running group and added: “I was really hoping to complete the course and enjoy it and I was pretty pleased I finished it which was the icing on the cake.”
Written by Russell Cook
Emma Richbell and her cheque for the My WiSH charity, with the fundraising officer Amy Hatch.