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After recovering from cancer, Jemma Reed wanted to do something positive for her health. Here’s how she went on to lose 3st – and complete a very special 5K… 

“As I rounded the bend in my pink T-shirt and matching tutu, I saw the finishing line was within reach. Suddenly, my son, Joshua, appeared from the crowd of cheering onlookers, grinning at me. ‘You’re nearly there, Mum!’ he said, and we ran the final stretch side by side. Across the line, I fell into the arms of my husband, Russell, and daughter, Faith.  

I revelled in that family hug at the Southsea 5K Race for Life, because I knew how much me finishing that race meant to us all. It was a huge moment for a family that had been through so much… In 2020, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and needed an emergency mastectomy. To this day, breaking that news to Russell and our young children was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.  

Throughout the months of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy that followed, I sought comfort in food – especially family-size bars of chocolate – and my weight began to climb. After my treatment, we were relieved to be told the cancer appeared to have been caught in time. Despite having eight hours of breast reconstruction surgery ahead of me, I finally felt able to look to the future.  

By then, I was at my heaviest and needed a stick to walk. Eager to do something for my wellbeing, I told my friend, Jess, that I wanted to lose weight. She suggested we join Slimming World, so in September 2021, we went along to our local group. Food Optimising suited me perfectly. If I craved comfort, I’d just make myself slimming-friendly macaroni cheese – that way I’d feel satisfied and full… and I’d still lose weight!  

Hearing about the Body Magic programme in group inspired me to get active, too. I bought a treadmill and started by running for just 30 seconds at a time – with Joshua jogging on the spot beside me, shouting words of encouragement. Gradually, my fitness improved and, as I kept on Food Optimising, I carried on losing weight, until by April 2022, I’d hit my target weight loss of 3st.  

I’m now the fittest I’ve ever been in my life – I go to a weekly Clubbercise class and run 5km three times a week, which was totally unimaginable before! The fact that I feel so healthy now, compared to just a year ago, when I was walking with a stick, is testament to my wonderful Slimming World group – and to my loving, supportive family, who’ve been with me every step of the way.” 

Find your nearest Slimming World group here

Walk, jog or run Race for Life with Slimming World 

This year, Slimming World is an official sponsor of Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life. Whether you’re up for a fun run with your friends from group or fancy a solo stroll, we’d love to see our members proudly lacing up their trainers (and pulling on pink T-shirts!) for such an amazing cause. 

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