Thousands raised to help Somerset mum fulfil charity goal

By Shana Rose

image copyrightSara Charlton
image captionSara has been described as "the life and soul of the party" but said the news that her cancer had returned was devastating

Friends and family of a woman with stage four breast cancer have taken on exercise challenges, after she was unable to complete a fundraising walk.

Sara Charlton, from Frome in Somerset, signed up to the 50-mile walk in February to raise money for Dorothy House hospice.

But a week into the challenge doctors told her the cancer had spread to her femur and she could develop a fracture.

More than £9,000 has been raised so far, leaving Mr Charlton "gobsmacked."

The 58-year-old was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008. After radiotherapy and medication she went into remission, but the cancer returned in 2018 and again last year.

She had a mastectomy and underwent chemotherapy and was then given the all-clear in August 2020.

image copyrightSara Charlton
image captionSara's daughter Samantha Bennett said she is "so grateful to have her as a mum"

But in December, during a check-up scan, Mrs Charlton was told the cancer had returned.

Doctors later confirmed it has spread to her pelvis and femur and told her she should stop the charity walk due to the pressure on her bones.

Mrs Charlton said: "I was really, really down. It seemed to have spread so quickly in the last few weeks. I just try and keep a smile on my face. Other people have it so much worse don't they?"

When it comes to staying positive, Mrs Charlton said her friends and family from all over the country helping to raise money for the hospice in Bradford-on-Avon has been "amazing".

"I'm gobsmacked by the donations and the amount of people helping," she said.

image copyrightSally Groves, Tina Dunford
image captionSally Groves, left, has been taking on sit ups and squats and Tina Dunford has been cycling to raise cash

They have been taking on long walks, sit ups, Zumba classes, even cake bake sales to raise the cash.

Mrs Charlton has another scan in April to assess her treatment and has been keeping on top of the donations with a spreadsheet during lockdown.

"People tell me I'm doing well but I say it's not me, it's everyone else," Mrs Charlton added.

image copyrightCatherine Harrop
image captionSara's family Catherine, Josh, Sam, and John Harrop who are fundraising in Sussex
image copyrightSimon Joyce
image captionSara's friends Simon Joyce and his mum Diane are walking 10,000 steps a day to help raise money for the hospice

Her daughter, Samantha Bennett, said the amount of money raised is a testament to her mum.

The 35-year-old from Trowbridge added: "Originally we thought £250 would be a nice amount and then it jumped to £500 in one day and suddenly were at £9,000 which is an amazing amount of money.

"It just shows how many people love her."

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