Cancer patient’s daughters on the starting blocks for a ‘race at home’

Breast cancer patient Kellie Arkell feared her three daughters would be left motherless after a scan appeared to show the disease had spread to her liver.

Kellie Arkell with Elisha, Lola, and Mia who are doing the Race for Life at Home
Kellie Arkell with Elisha, Lola, and Mia who are doing the Race for Life at Home

The former hairdresser from Bilston was devastated when doctors told her the spread meant her cancer was now incurable.

But to everyone’s astonishment, a clearer scan performed after Kellie’s treatment showed the ‘spots’ on her liver were not cancer after all, but benign cysts.

Her disease was much less advanced than originally thought and after having a mastectomy to remove the breast and remaining tumour, she is now hoping for a clean bill of health.

Kellie, who is mum to Elisha, 16, Mia, 10 and four-year-old Lola, was diagnosed with cancer in 2019 after thickening in her breast tissue developed into a lump.

The 36-year-old had intensive chemotherapy and suffered a catalogue of setbacks including sepsis twice, pneumonia, shingles, and Covid-19.

“It was absolutely devastating when I was told my cancer was incurable.


“Can you imagine having to go home and tell your children you are going to die?,” said Kellie.

“It felt like a miracle when the tumours in my liver turned out to be cysts.

“The doctors were astounded too. They said this sort of thing hardly ever happens.

“It was the best news ever and literally gave me my life back.

“Even so, it has been the hardest year of my life coping with cancer in the middle of a pandemic.

“I had to go for my mastectomy completely alone and have not been able to have reconstruction surgery yet because it is not considered an essential operation.

“I’ve also opted to have a second mastectomy as I want to be sure I’ve done everything I can to minimise the chance of the cancer returning. I consider myself very lucky to have come through it all and I’m just grateful for family, and my children who have been so strong and who have made me laugh,” she added.

Kellie is now looking forward to being treated to a special Race for Life at Home by her daughters who are scootering and cycling 5k in their local park in her honour to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

The Arkell family will join thousands of people from across the UK who have all vowed to run, walk or jog 5K either alone or in small, socially distanced groups this April and raise money for life-saving research.

People can visit to sign up to Race for Life at Home for £5 then receive a race pack which includes a medal.  Money raised will help scientists find new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, helping to save more lives.

“We’re all really excited about our Race for Life at Home challenge and are looking forward to the chance to raise funds for research to help develop gentler and more effective treatments for cancer,” said Kellie.

Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, which has been in partnership with Tesco for 20 years, is an inspiring series of 3K, 5K, 10K, Pretty Muddy and Pretty Muddy Kids events which raise millions of pounds every year to help beat cancer by funding crucial research.

A live broadcast on the Cancer Research UK Race for Life Facebook and Race for Life Instagram pages on Saturday April 24 will include an energiser from a fitness expert as well as inspirational messages of support from people who have been through cancer.


Participants are then invited to run, walk or jog 5K. Organisers are also inviting participants to share photos and videos on social media using the hashtag #RaceatHome

Jane Redman, Cancer Research UK’s spokesperson for the West Midlands, said: “Even while we’re still apart, we can unite against cancer.

“There are a million reasons to Race for Life at Home, to help save lives, for those who have had vital treatment delayed or just for a reason to get off the sofa.

“We want people to run, walk or jog 5K and raise money for life-saving research.

“The truth is, Covid-19 has slowed us down.  But we will never stop  and we are absolutely determined to continue to create better cancer treatments for tomorrow.

“Even though we have to Race for Life differently this spring, nothing is going to stop us running, walking or jogging 5K to raise money to help beat cancer.

“That’s why we need as many people as possible across the West Midlands to sign up to Race for Life at Home this April, to stand united and do something extraordinary to help beat cancer.”

The Race for Life 3K and 5K which are open to all ages and abilities have been rescheduled for this autumn and are now due to take place at venues across the Midlands, including Walsall Aboretum on Sunday September 5, Himley Hall on Sunday September 26 and Wolverhampton West Park on Sunday October 10.

There will also be events at Sandwell Valley Country Park on Saturday October 16, Worcester Racecourse on Saturday and Sunday October 16 and 17, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham on Sunday October 24 and Weston Park on Saturday October 30

People can sign up to Race for Life at Home this April, at or call 0300 123 0770. People can also join in and share what they are doing to raise funds by using #RaceatHome.

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News