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Cancer survivor to celebrate birthday with Three Peaks Challenge

PUBLISHED: 17:10 15 July 2018 | UPDATED: 17:10 15 July 2018

Sam Fordham is taking on the Three Peaks Challenge for Cancer Research UK. Picture: MarkHewlett.

Sam Fordham is taking on the Three Peaks Challenge for Cancer Research UK. Picture: MarkHewlett.

© 2013 Mark Hewlett

A mother will be celebrating her birthday on top of Mount Snowdon to give back to the charity that helped save her life.

Sam Fordham is taking on the Three Peaks Challenge for Cancer Research UK. Picture: MarkHewlett.Sam Fordham is taking on the Three Peaks Challenge for Cancer Research UK. Picture: MarkHewlett.

Sam Fordham, 46, from Carlton Colville, is celebrating a fourth year of being cancer free by turning her birthday into a fundraising mission and taking on the Three Peaks Challenge for Cancer Research UK.

She will attempt to climb the highest mountains of England, Scotland and Wales – Scafell Pike, Ben Nevis and Mount Snowdon - within 24 hours to celebrate turning 47 – a birthday she feared she might never see.

The mum-of-one was diagnosed with oral cancer on New Year’s Eve in 2014. She had a nine-hour operation to remove the tumour and to rebuild her tongue with skin grafts from her wrist.

She said: “The operation I had wouldn’t have been possible 10 or 20 years ago, it’s thanks to research that they were able to do it and it’s thanks to research that they are starting to understand more about how to treat other types of oral cancer.

Sam Fordham is taking on the Three Peaks Challenge for Cancer Research UK. Picture: MarkHewlett.Sam Fordham is taking on the Three Peaks Challenge for Cancer Research UK. Picture: MarkHewlett.

“I took things like taste and talking for granted before. My tongue will never be the same again. I can’t taste things like I used to, when I am reading bedtime stories to my daughter Molly it’s often swollen after a long day of talking and it always feels dry but I do feel incredibly lucky to be here.”

Ms Fordham’s experience has led her to back Cancer Research UK’s ‘Right Now’ campaign and fundraise for the charity.

The campaign involves a series of TV adverts which show real patients undergoing cancer treatment within the last few years and then enjoying life with their loved ones afterwards.

Ms Fordham, who is branch manager at Central England Co-operative Travel in Lowestoft, was diagnosed after booking an appointment to see her GP about a persistent ulcer.

She has already completed the Race for Life, Dryathlon, road races and a skydive – but the Three Peaks will be her toughest challenge to date.

Ms Fordham will set off with two friends, Sarah and Stephen Cunningham, on July 27. They will start the first climb at 5pm and have to finish all three mountains within 24 hours.

Ms Fordham said: “I am nervous about the challenge but I’m so grateful for the treatment that saved my life and that’s why I want to do everything I can to raise awareness of the power of research. I hope people are motivated to show their support and help save the lives of more people like me.”

Ms Fordham will also be donating a small percentage of the donations to Dementia UK, Central England Co-operatives’ charity of the year.

To support Ms Fordham visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/samantha-fordham4

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