In November 2018, Cathi Blake was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
“Fortunately,” she says, “I was diagnosed early enough for the tumour to be removed.” It was a six-hour-plus operation.
“More than half of all people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer die within three months,” Cathi adds.
Not only is Cathi still with us, she will be making a charity skydive on 8 August.
“I’m blessed to be alive and so happy to give back to the community via this fundraising skydive,” she says.
“I am a strong Black woman resident of Lambeth and was born and raised in the borough.
“My parents were from Jamaica and settled in Brixton in the 1950s.
“I want to raise awareness about pancreatic cancer and the importance of getting diagnosed as early as possible.
“Survival rates have improved enormously for most cancers, yet for pancreatic cancer, this is not the case,” Cathi points out.
She had intensive chemotherapy after her operation. But, even after this, scans showed what doctors felt were signs that the disease had returned and they wanted to start palliative chemotherapy.
“That was nearly two years ago,” says Cathi.
Many scans later, “what the doctors saw has miraculously disappeared and my scans are disease-free!
“Although my body has taken a bashing, I work hard to keep fit, and continue to stand on my faith and help others.”
Cathi returned to work with Age UK Lambeth in January 2020.
“It’s always been part of my mission to give back to the community,” she says, “even more so since my healing journey.”
Cathi will be donating the funds she raises through sponsorship to two charities close to her heart – Pancreatic Cancer UK and Age UK Lambeth.
Pancreatic Cancer UK provides a critical service to support people diagnosed with the illness, funds research breakthroughs and campaigns for change, Cathi explains.
“Age UK Lambeth provides a range of support opportunities and delivery of services to thousands of older people, with the aim of making life better.”
Cathi is appealing for help to reach her fundraising targets for both charities via the links below: