Recruitment agency undertaking 100-mile challenge for bone cancer charity

Business owner and mum-of-two Siobhan Courtney found a lump on her leg while pregnant with her first child. She was advised by doctors to wait till her baby was born before undergoing tests, which she agrees was “the right thing to do”.

Six weeks after the birth, a midwife urged Siobhan to have the lump checked out. One week later, she was diagnosed with an aggressive type of bone cancer called osteosarcoma.

The condition usually develops in growing bones and is most common in older children, teenagers and young adults. It is most often found in long bones of the arms and legs, but can occur in others bones in the body.

“It was really hideous as it completely took over my life,” said Siobhan, who owns The Eventus Recruitment Group. “I wasn’t able to walk or feed my child because I was so ill. I developed a couple of infections too.”

Siobhan underwent six months of chemotherapy, and had all of her fibula bone and 30 per cent of the muscles in her leg cut out.

Before her diagnosis, Siobhan showed no other signs of cancer, and felt no pain until towards the end. Despite this, an X-ray revealed a nine inch tumour on the bone of her leg.

“At 28, I was a lot older than most patients with osteosarcoma, as it’s mainly a teenage cancer, which often gets misdiagnosed as growing pain,” she said. “I was one of the oldest people to have it.

“People aren’t aware of this kind of cancer, so if you’re a parent or patient and unhappy with the diagnosis, then ask for an X-ray. My GP had been practising for many years but had never come across it until my diagnosis.”

Now 20 years clear of cancer, Siobhan said she was one of the lucky ones and cannot praise the NHS enough.

A survey carried out by the Bone Cancer Research Trust found that patients wait, on average, more than 7 months and make 8 visits to multiple healthcare professionals before receiving an accurate diagnosis.

According to the charity, patients are faced with a five-year survival rate that can be as low as 50 per cent.

Siobhan said: “Raising awareness is the key to saving a life and we need to talk about it in schools, as it’s so common in that age group. I was one of the lucky ones and NHS staff were my absolute gods.”

The Eventus Recruitment Group will be supporting the Bone Cancer Research Trust in February with their ‘100 miles challenge’ and to celebrate Siobhan being 20 years clear of cancer. This will involve the team completing 25 miles per week by either walking, running, skipping, jumping (whatever they want to do) to complete the miles with their 4 legged friends accompanying them for support.

The team will be posting regular updates on their social media channels to keep people up to date on their progress during the challenge and the sponsorship total which currently stands at over £850 so watch this space!

Amy Bowers, Challenge Events Fundraising Manager at the Bone Cancer Research Trust, said: "We are incredibly grateful to the Eventus Recruitment Group for taking on the 100 Miles in February Challenge and raising life-saving funds alongside vital awareness. The amount already raised by their team is simply outstanding and will make an incredible difference to bone cancer patients and their families."

If you would like to sponsor the team you can do so by clicking this link Alison Hitchen is fundraising for Bone Cancer Research Trust (justgiving.com)

Further information about symptoms can be found at www.bcrt.org.uk/symptoms