A CANCER survivor from Cradley Heath is fighting back against the disease by entering Dudley’s Race for Life with a 35-strong team of friends and relatives.

Former district nurse Karen Garrison was forced to give up the job she loved when she was struck down by bowel cancer at the age of 41.

Now she is urging mums, daughters, sisters and friends to join her and the army of women entering the Cancer Research UK 5k event at Himley Hall on Sunday July 13.

Her team – the Rowley WAGS – is calling women of all ages to join them and sign up for one of the charity’s 5k, 10k or Pretty Muddy events which take place across the region between now and July.

The mum-of-two was diagnosed with bowel cancer in January 2012 when her children, Jake and Lucy, were just 10 and four years old.

Mrs Garrison said: “My biggest worry was that it could have spread outside the bowel. It was a very frightening time, particularly as the children were so young.”

A further CT scan showed there were no secondary tumours and she had an operation to remove the tumour and part of her bowel. After recovering from the surgery, she began a six month course of chemotherapy in April 2012.

Mrs Garrison also suffered severe peripheral neuropathy – a side effect of her chemotherapy – a disabling numbness and tingling sensation in the fingers and toes.

The condition, which is permanent, forced her to give up work and she and her team will walk the race as she can no longer run.

But she said: “It was a small price to pay to stay alive and see my children grow up.”

It is now well over two years since her cancer was diagnosed, substantially reducing the risk of the disease returning and recent tests were clear.

Lucy, now aged seven, will join the team of 25 adults and 10 youngsters while Mr Garrison and son Jake, aged 12, will cheer them on.

To enter Race for Life’s 5k, 10k or Pretty Muddy events in the West Midlands visit www.raceforlife.org or call 0845 600 6050.