A Stenhousemuir mum who took part in a fundraising run just weeks after finishing gruelling cancer treatment says she can’t wait to do it all again.
Joyce Baker has turned her life around after surviving breast cancer and was the perfect person to launch the local campaign for Race for Life at the ‘pink’ Falkirk Wheel on Friday.
The mum-of-two used to be very busy in a job she loved, travelling the UK as part of her demanding role as head of training for a major white goods brand.
So when she was made redundant after 14 years, it was a major blow. But,in January 2013, worse was to follow when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. However, since then she has changed her life for the better.
She now has a better work-life balance, spends more time with her family, practises yoga, swims regularly and sings in a choir.
Joyce (55) said: “I was made redundant in December 2012 and didn’t know what to do with my life.
“A month later I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Although I had loved my job and didn’t know what to do after being made redundant, cancer helped me figure that out.”
Joyce has now gone back to working as a teacher at Bo’ness Academy teaching home economics.
And she has more time to spend with her family – husband Steve, son Grant (33) and daughter Gemma (29) who, she says, have been a fantastic support.
She said: “While I was working, I was always away.
“It has really made me feel happier, to be able to get on with my life knowing I have a much better work-life balance and be at home with my family.
“At the time I was devastated, but now I realise it’s all for the best. I was meant to be at home so I could focus on getting well and recover from treatment without the worries or pressure from work.”
Joyce had surgery, a second operation to remove more tissue, six weeks of radiotherapy and ongoing hormone treatment.
She said: “The cancer was caught early and I responded well to the treatment.
“I had to have a second operation but stayed positive about it. I did get quite emotional when they told me they had caught it and I wouldn’t need to have a mastectomy.
“That was such a relief! I was really lucky.”
Joyce crossed the finish line at the Race for Life last year after completing radiotherapy treatment and is gearing up to give it her all again this year.
Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, run in partnership with Tesco, is an inspiring women-only series of 5K, 10K and Pretty Muddy events that generate millions of pounds very year to help beat cancer sooner.
By committing to walk, run or jog their way round the course, mums and daughters will be investing time in creating precious memories together and helping fund life-saving research.
Joyce had her one year check up in February and it was clear.
Her choir, The Heart Of Scotland, plan to sing at Forth Valley Royal Hospital on Sunday, April 13 and money raised will go to the local oncology unit.
Joyce’s family has also been affected by cancer. She lost her dad to lung cancer and her sister-in-law to breast cancer.
She added: “I am looking forward to doing my bit at the Race for Life. I hope anything I can do to support life saving research is going to make a difference.”