Mulbarton grandmother’s rallying call for Race for Life

Debbie Genery in her Race for Life T-shirt. Photo: Bill Smith

Debbie Genery in her Race for Life T-shirt. Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Archant © 2013

A Norfolk cancer survivor, who has undergone ten operations in the last seven years, is urging women to make a stand against the disease by taking part in Race for Life.

Debbie Genery, of Mulbarton, said her positive attitude had helped her overcome the disease after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006.

The 49-year-old, who celebrated her birthday yesterday, is calling on women across Norfolk to sign up to this year's Race for Life events to raise thousands of pounds for Cancer Research UK. The popular women-only runs will be staged at the Royal Norfolk Showground on May 18 and 19.

Mrs Genery, who has run the Mulbarton Gymnastics Club in the village since 1995, has taken part in two previous Race for Life events alongside her three daughters, Alice Cutting, 28, Amy Thorogood, 27, and Sadie Garrett, 25.

'Last year my sister did Race for Life for me, but I had just had another operation on the mastectomy site so I wasn't able to join her. It's a great cause and a fantastic day out, and I just want to urge women to give it a go – research is really important,' she said.

Mrs Genery first found a lump in her breast in 2005, which was revealed to be benign. By the time she had a check-up a year later, she could feel another lump. Although assured it was benign, she asked for it to be removed to set her mind at rest.

The lump turned out to be cancer, which had spread to her lymph nodes. In August 2006, Mrs Genery had a full mastectomy followed by six months of chemotherapy and five weeks radiotherapy, finishing in February 2007.

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However, after several subsequent operations to have a breast implant, the implant was removed because it was too painful. She also endured several more cancer scares due to recurring polyps in her uterus, which turned out to be benign growths due to side-effects from her treatment. She eventually had a hysterectomy in November 2010, and her medication was switched to minimise side-effects.

Mrs Genery continued to work throughout her illness as an estate manager for supported housing estate Hanover Gardens in Mulbarton. She also kept up her role as instructor for Mulbarton Gymnastics Club, which she has run for 18 years. She also became a grandmother in September when her daughter Alice gave birth to baby Ellis and her daughter Sadie is seven months pregnant.

'Cancer has changed my outlook because I have realised that life is short. My family are quite protective, but we are only here once and I would rather do what I enjoy doing rather than sitting at home. I want to enjoy my life and make the most of it,' she said.

'I can't do cartwheels and join in with the gym sessions the way I used to, but that's just something I've had to accept,' she said.

To enter Race for Life go to or call 0845 600 6050.