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FITC’s CARE participant taking on Swimathon 2018

Less than 9 months after being diagnosed with cancer, Ruth Humphreys, 38, a mum of two boys, is taking on Swimathon 2018 on Friday 27th April at Keyworth Leisure Centre where she will swim 1.5k (75 lengths of the pool).

It’s her first big challenge since being diagnosed with Stage 2 Breast Cancer in August last year after which Ruth has had to undergo a string of treatments, including a surgery, radiotherapy and hormonal therapy.

Ruth said: “When I finished my active treatment at the hospital, I felt like I had lost confidence in my body and needed something positive to focus on. It was really hard finishing treatment and moving back into normal life.

“Then I went swimming in the New Year and saw posters for Swimathon 2018 and thought if I sign up for Swimathon then it’s a goal, it’s something positive to focus on, which is why I signed up to do it.

“I’ve found swimming and physical exercise have been so helpful. When I’m in the swimming pool it really clears my head from my worries. I can just forget everything else that’s gone on over the last year – I feel free and I really enjoy being in the pool.

About a month ago, Ruth joined Notts County Football in the Community’s (FITC) CARE programme, which uses physical activity to help patients during their recovery from cancer.

Ruth commented: “I first heard about it when Stephen came to the Moving Forward Course that’s run by Breast Cancer Care. It sounded really good and I’m finding the sessions really helpful.

“The CARE team are just so wonderful. Even in the few weeks I’ve been coming I can see that it’s helping my confidence and seeing the ladies – those who are further down that track – seeing how much confidence and enjoyment they get from it kind of gives you hope that you’re going to feel like that one day.

“As part of the Swimathon challenge, I’m raising money for Cancer Research and Marie Curie which just seemed to fit. I feel like in a small way I’m giving back and helping someone else on their cancer journey. I did a lot of swimming in my teenage years as a competitive swimmer but I haven’t swum for years so this is a big challenge for me whilst recovering from treatment. 

“When I first signed up back in January, I was struggling with shoulder pain and I was very tired most of the time. Over the last few months, that has been easing but I wouldn’t say I’m back to where I was before I started the treatment, not yet.”

With less than 3 weeks to go before the big challenge, Ruth is trying to fit in as many swim sessions as possible.

“I’ve swum the distance only once before in training but I’m trying to do it more often. I think having done it on the day, just feeling like I’ve proved to myself that my body can do something positive again, that it can achieve good things and not just be stuck with doing hard things, it will be a massive achievement for myself.”

Family photo from Ruth's personal archive

Joining and supporting Ruth’s cause is also her 8-year-old son Sammy who’s been training with Ruth. He will be doing his own 400m Swimathon on Sunday 29thApril.

“I’m really proud of him for wanting to do it.  He kept nagging me for weeks saying “mummy will you sign me up too, I want to do it, I want to do it to raise money so cancer doesn’t have to happen to other people’s mummies,” I’m just really proud of him so I’m looking forward to going and doing it with him on Sunday, too.”

Stephen List, CARE co-ordinator, said: “We were so delighted to hear about Ruth’s Swimathon and really proud of her for taking on this challenge. The CARE programme helps people affected by cancer to gain strength, be more active and develop confidence. From day one we’ve been happy to support Ruth during her recovery and wish her all the best with the event.”

To support Ruth on her journey, please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ruthkhumphreys

To support her son Sammy on his Swimathon challenge, please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sammy-humphreys5

If you’d like to find out more about the CARE – Cancer And Rehabilitation Exercise -programme, please CLICK HERE