Caroline Halil is a great friend, a super mum, a fantastic Bodycombat coach and moreover an inspiration to all of us. Every day you meet her, you can’t help but become affected by her vivaciousness and bubbling personality. In Caroline’s case it really is true that great things come (as she would put) in wee packages.
This is the story of how one woman from Basingstoke can help to make a difference.
Caroline, simply THANK YOU. x
Now Caroline, who had to fight for life through emergency surgery for a very rare form of cancer, is the proud mother of Rebecca, 12, Lewis, 7, Reiss, 6 and Samuel, 3.
She says: ““I am very lucky to be here and I want to share my story to give others hope”.
Caroline’s inspirational story has already prompted over seventy women and young girls at the Shin Gi Tai Martial Arts Academy at Basingstoke – where she teaches – to get behind her for this year’s Tesco and Cancer Research UK Race for Life.
She is hoping others will join up for the event at Down Grange Sports Complex at 11.00am on Sunday 26th June to raise money for vital research which is helping more people like Caroline to not only survive cancer, but go on to lead normal lives.
Caroline, who is now 38, was diagnosed with cancer in her kidney on her 10th birthday. She was living in Edinburgh at the time and she had been ill for around two years.
She said: “I had been suffering horrific stomach and back ache but nobody knew what was wrong. I had a hugely bloated stomach and I was eventually taken to hospital where I was immediately sent for emergency surgery to remove a tumour and one of my kidneys.
At one points her parents were told there was only a 50-50 per cent chance of her surviving the nine-hour operation.
However, the cancer had spread and Caroline then faced two years of intensive chemotherapy and radiotherapy. She was told having the treatment as she approached puberty would prevent her from having children.
She said: “It took me months to recover and losing all my hair at that age was a horrific experience. I was told exploratory tests had confirmed I would never be able to have children”.
Caroline and her husband, Spencer, 40, accepted they couldn’t have children when they got married and were therefore stunned when her first pregnancy was discovered when she was in hospital being treated for something totally unrelated.
“A check-up found I was three-months pregnant with Rebecca. I was advised for my own health not to continue with the pregnancy, but I decided to take the chance. It was a complicated pregnancy, but we both survived”.
Her fourth pregnancy was also discovered during an unrelated hospital check-up, although the pregnancy itself was relatively straight forward.
“I am currently very well and feel very lucky that we have proved everyone wrong who said I couldn’t have children”.
Caroline has been an active fundraiser and has raised several thousands of pounds for a variety of charities since she was a child.
“I have taken part in Race for Life with Rebecca for several years but wondered if I could encourage some members of the martial arts club to join us this year”.
Seventy-five women and young girls from the club’s 400 members have joined the team in support of Caroline **.
Lea Blake, the Basingstoke Race for Life organiser, said: “We are very grateful to the ladies from the Shin Gi Tai Martial Arts Academy for making up such an impressive team.
“However, this year recruitment for the Basingstoke event is significantly lower than anticipated. With just 7 weeks to go, over 1500 women have already entered but there are still 2583 places to fill.
“Some women think they won’t be able to complete the course but in face most are able to walk 5k in an hour. In that same amount of time around five people will be diagnosed with cancer in the South.*
“If fewer women take part there will be less money to fund research, which in turn means fewer lives saved in the future”.
Women in the South can enter Tesco and Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life at www.raceforlife.org or by calling 0871 641 1111.
For media enquiries please call Helen Johnstone of Cancer Research on 07768 987 925
* All cancers (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer) diagnosed from 2005-2007 in the South East Government Office Region.
** To find out more about the Shin Gi Tai martial Arts Academy please go to: www.basingstokekarate.com or telephone 01256 364104
About Race for Life
- Tesco and Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life 2011 is the UK’s largest women-only fundraising event series with over 300 events around the UK from May to the end of July.
- Women of all ages, abilities, shapes and sizes from all over the UK join together to walk, jog or run 5k to raise money to help beat cancer.
- 2011 is a very ambitious year for Tesco and Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life. The goal is to raise £80 million to fund Cancer Research UK’s life-saving research.
- In 2011, women will have the opportunity to take part in the traditional 5k or opt for a10k route, without having to pay an additional entry fee, at 42 venues across the UK.
- Race for Life started as one event in 1994 at Battersea Park with 680 participants. In 2011 it is celebrating its 17th birthday.
- Since it started, an incredible 5.4 million participants across the UK have raised over £362 million to fund Cancer Research UK’s vital work.
- Entry fee is £14.99 to cover the costs of staging the event series. All money raised in sponsorship will go directly to our work to help beat cancer.
About Cancer Research UK
- Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research
- The charity’s groundbreaking work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer has helped save millions of lives. This work is funded entirely by the public.
- Cancer Research UK has been at the heart of the progress that has already seen survival rates double in the last forty years.
- Cancer Research UK supports research into all aspects of cancer through the work of over 4,000 scientists, doctors and nurses.
- Together with its partners and supporters, Cancer Research UK’s vision is to beat cancer.
For further information about Cancer Research UK’s work or to find out how to support the charity, please call 020 3469 6699 or visit www.cancerresearchuk.org