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A young Norfolk couple are urging people to join them in supporting Pretty Muddy for Cancer Research

PUBLISHED: 06:30 28 February 2015

Leighana Oldman and Olly Powles

Leighana Oldman and Olly Powles

Archant

A young couple from Norwich, who lost a loved one to cancer, are urging people to get behind Pretty Muddy.

Leighana Oldman, Olly Powles,Leighana Oldman, Olly Powles,

And the Evening News is getting right behind them to support the campaign.

Pretty Muddy is a messy new event from Cancer Research UK which comes to Norwich for the first time this July.

Leighana Oldman, 17 of Costessey, is fighting back against cancer by signing up for Pretty Muddy, which takes place at Earlham Park on July 26.

Her boyfriend Olly Powles, 18 of Drayton High Road, is volunteering at the event and both are taking part in memory of Olly’s dad.

A tribute to his dad

Later this year Olly is running the Bupa 10k race for Cancer Research UK and he’s encouraging everyone to get involved to support the charity in any way that they can.

Olly said: “We thought my dad was going to be okay at first, they said the cancer could be treated but then a few weeks later we found out it had spread to his brain and within three months he was gone.

“Me and Leighana want to do our bit to help make this new event a success and we’ll do whatever we can to help fund more research in future. I don’t want any other families to go through this. Dad was my idol and I really looked up to him and wanted to be like him. Losing him was devastating, we haven’t coped as a family. It’s been really hard on my mum and on all of us. I’m only just starting to feel stronger now.

“I’ve got my fingers crossed that one day we will beat it and hopefully we will stop cancer. Until then I’ll do what I can to support research because that’s the way forward.”

Ray Powles, Olly’s dad, died in 2013 just three months after a form of SCC (Squamous cell carcinoma) head and neck cancer was diagnosed.

By the end of his life Ray could only communicate by writing notes.

Pretty Muddy is a women-only, non-competitive 5k obstacle course – with added mud.

But any men who want to show their support can follow Olly’s lead and help with fundraising or volunteer on the day to make sure there’s enough mud on hand.

Show your support

Every day, 83 people are diagnosed with cancer in the East. And that’s why Cancer Research UK is calling on women across the region to show cancer who’s boss by choosing their challenge - Pretty Muddy, 5k or 10k - and signing up now.

Danielle Glavin, Cancer Research UK’s spokesperson in Norfolk, said: “We’re so grateful to Leighana and Olly for their support and we hope that other people will be inspired by their courage and sign up to take part in Pretty Muddy or to join us as a volunteer.

“Pretty Muddy promises all the fun and camaraderie of our much loved 5k and 10k events – just with an extra serving of mud and obstacles. Race for Life events are not competitive. They are not about being fit or fast. Women can complete the Pretty Muddy course at their own pace, climbing, jumping, walking and laughing their way around.

“With fire in their bellies and trainers at the ready, we know that local ladies are up for the challenge.”

Leighana, who’s studying childcare at Ormiston Victory Academy, said: “Taking part in Race for Life Pretty Muddy is my way of fighting back against cancer for Olly’s dad.

“Olly’s dad couldn’t speak at the end but we would sit with him in hospital to keep him company. When we lost him it was really hard to see how upset Olly was, they were really close and it was heartbreaking.

“I can’t wait to take on the Pretty Muddy challenge and I’m looking forward to getting really muddy. I’m doing something to help more families stay together for longer. It’s an honour to do this in Ray’s memory.”

Olly, who’s midway through an apprenticeship in plumbing at City college, will be helping out on the day but also cheering Leighana on.

Danielle added: “We’re calling on the brave ladies of the East to lace up their trainers and take on cancer at this year’s event.

“Race for Life is to celebrate those who are with us, and also to remember those people like Ray Powles who sadly are not. The atmosphere is electric, our participants are so inspiring and we’re calling on the people of Norwich to help make 2015 our best year yet.”

Money raised through Race for Life allows Cancer Research UK’s doctors, nurses and scientists to advance research which is helping to save the lives of men, women and children across the East.

In January, the Evening News pushed for women in the region to get involved.

Will you be joining the Pretty Muddy race and have a story to tell? Let us know by email sophie.biddle@archant.co.uk

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