SOUTHEND cancer survivors will be marking the start of a 24 hour relay for Cancer Research, leading an emotional lap of honour.

Survivors will step onto the track at the Southend Leisure and Tennis Centre, Garon Park, as their names are called to celebrate the lives of those who’ve survived cancer, to commemorate those who’ve passed away and to honour the courage of their loved ones.

Jacquie Ball was diagnosed with breast cancer ten years ago, and will be taking part in the lap of honour to open the event.

The 64-year-old said: “It was completely out of the blue and absolutely knocked the stuffing out of me. You never think ‘I could get cancer’ until you do.

“I noticed a lump, which they did a scan on. They then found an even larger lump behind that which was cancerous. They told me without treatment I’d only got five years left to live.

“In 2009, I had to have my full breast removed, followed by chemotherapy and radiotherapy. I was even part of a drugs trial, which is how I got into the research side of things in the first place.

“My 13-year-old son at the time, Joseph, was my carer.

“The whole experience as horrible, but ten years on look where I am.

“I’m so excited to be taking part that I’m going to try and stay over 24 hours.”

Cancer Research UK’s Relay For Life will take place on July 27, where teams of eight to 15 walkers will set off on a 24 hour relay to raise cash for the charity.

Purple smoke will raise from the track, symbolising the international colour of Relay For Life.

Survivor Terry Carrigan, 71, was first diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2014.

It was after seeing an article in the Echo about the event, that he decided to take part.

He said: “I noticed blood in my urine, before I was referred for a number of scans, biopsies and MRI’s, where they diagnosed me at stage three.

“I’d definitely be lying if I said I wasn’t scared, it was a very hard time.

“The treatment was the hardest part for me through everything. I chose to have hormone treatment, a dose of brachytherapy and five weeks of radiotherapy at Southend Hospital.

“I felt so tired everyday, all I would get up for is the hospital, so it’s lucky I wasn’t working at the time.

“Now I’m at the stage where I go for annual check ups, it’s time to give something back, and to march with the other survivors is such an honour.”

Pauline Chipperfield discovered a lump on her breast and was told straight away that it was cancerous.

The 57 year old said: “They told me there and then that I had cancer only days before my birthday.

“The following January I had the lump removed, followed by chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

“It was a major shock to be told the cancer was an aggressive stage three, and what made it more difficult was that my daughter was pregnant with my second grandchild.

“Despite losing my hair from chemotherapy and having an immune system so low I couldn’t see my kids or grandchildren, I knew I’d fight it.

“This year I’ve had my five year check up, so they don’t need to see me anymore.

“It’s fantastic to be taking part and giving back, a lot of us wouldn’t be here without research. I already know it will be quite emotional for us all.”