Bedford woman left heartbroken by best friend's cancer diagnosis is to run half marathon
A woman left heartbroken by her lifelong friend's tumour diagnosis is running the Royal Parks Half Marathon in aid of The National Brain Appeal.
Ciara Litchfield, 27, from Oakley, was born two weeks apart from Hannah King and they have been close friends for more than two decades.
But two years ago, Ciara, who was living in Laos at the time, was left in shock after discovering her best friend had been diagnosed with a brain tumour.
She said: "Hannah sent me a Whatsapp message saying that she didn’t want me to worry, but she had been diagnosed with a brain tumour and had already undergone surgery to remove most of it and was fitted with a shunt to help manage any fluid that could build up on the brain.”
Unknown to Ciara, her and Hannah's mother were aware of her diagnosis before she went travelling but but they didn’t want it to ruin her trip.
She said: “Hannah would often mention her headaches, but we both put it down to being stressed at work or tiredness.
"Generally, I feel people who work in London are stressed most of the time, but at 25 years old you definitely don’t jump to brain tumour when your friends complain about their headaches.”
Ciara was struck with both anger and sadness following her friend's diagnosis.
“I was angry at myself that I wasn’t there for her, angry for being a terrible friend as I hadn’t noticed anything was wrong, a bit angry at those close to me for keeping it a secret, although I grew to understand why," she added.
"I was also sad that she had to go through this and that this potentially wasn’t the end.”
Hannah was discharged from hospital two weeks later and continues to have regular check-ups and scans to make sure the tumour isn’t growing.
Ciara said: "At her last appointment there had been no sign of the tumour increasing in size which is fantastic.”
Despite already achieving her £500 target, Ciara is aiming to raise additional funds for The National Brain Appeal. This will be Ciara’s second Royal Parks Half Marathon and she is challenging herself to complete it within two hours, with the support of her family.
To support Ciara’s cause, go to: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ciara-may
The Royal Parks Half Marathon takes place on Sunday the October 13. To find out more visit https://royalparkshalf.com/