In February 2018, Amy Blake, mother of three children under the age of ten, was given days to weeks to live by doctors.
Amy had been fighting a rare form of appendix cancer (pseudomyxoma peritonei) and was admitted to the Margeret Kerr Unit in Melrose.
A year on and, although the prognosis remains the same, she is continuing to battle away.
Formerly a Berwick Diamonds ladies rugby player, Amy is now receiving the help and support of her former team mates, who are raising funds for Berwick Cancer Cars, The Margaret Kerr Unit and research into pseudomyxoma peritonei, which she suffers from.
Friend Melanie Lowdon-King came up with the idea of herself and a few former Diamonds players shaving their heads for charity at Berwick RFC’s Ladies Day, as Julie Riley explained.
“Mel came up with the idea of having our hair donated to the little princess trust and then getting it shaved at Berwick Rugby Ladies Day.,” she told the Berwickshire News.
“Our good teammate Meg joined us for the shave and her friend Linda. Mel’s daughter Katie, aged 12, also had her hair donated.
“It was quite nerve-wracking as some of us had very long hair,but on our home turf and with teammates and Amy and family present along with some incredibly supportive ladies and rugby club members it was carried out. We raised around £1,500.”
An impressive amount of cash, but that is far from all that Julie and friends have managed to raise.
Julie and her friends each have their own fundraising page online, with Julie’s total currently sitting well in excess of £5,000 – meaning the total amount raised is sitting in the region of £7,500. Readers can donate to this fantastic cause at www.gofundme.com/pushingmyselfforamy.
The money hasn’t come easily, with Julie really going through her paces.
“I had signed up to a half marathon and was going to be running for Berwick Cancer Cars, following the news I expanded this.
“In April, I completed the Stirling Half, in May the Edinburgh Half, in June a full Tough Mudder with a fabulous team, in July I did the Gateshead 10K, in September it was the Great North Run and finally in October, after months of training and achillies issues, I ran the Yorkshire Marathon
in torrential unrelenting rain.
“Back in my rugby days I was a slim but strong centre or sometimes a winger. It’s fair to say, at 15 years or so since I stopped playing and now aged 42, I have gained more than a few pounds and a natural runner I am not.
“That marathon took me six hours and 27 minutes but I only walked two miles of it, which I was over the moon with.”
Julie explained how the rugby ladies, despite having not played together in more than 15 years, have remained close – and thanked the club for their support.
“We were an incredibly close team, not only on the field but off, and have continued to be as we have grown older. It is the type of friendship where you don’t need to see each other for years, you just pick up,” she added.
“We were very grateful to the rugby club for welcoming us back as if we had never been away – it is very true that there is a family in the club and you are always part of it.”