Earlier this year, Lana Anongu was unable to walk. Diagnosed with a neurological condition called functional nerve disorder, she was admitted to hospital.
But determined Lana still made it to the start of the Race for Life on Sunday. And although she was pushed most of the way in her wheelchair, the 33-year-old got up and walked the emotional final few metres to the line. It was a poignant moment for Lana, who was determined to complete the Race for Life after she lost her mum to cancer 20 years ago and her sister was diagnosed with the disease at the end of last year.
Lana’s mum, Coralie Anongu, died aged just 47. Her sister, Michelle, now 40, is in remission from breast cancer.
Lana’s illness has affected her back and legs and makes it difficult for her to walk. But she badly wanted to do the 5k Race for Life in Southsea this year.
She says: ‘It means a hell of a lot to me. When I was in hospital I didn’t think I would be able to do it. I was quite upset. I said that I wanted to be better to be able to take part.
‘But I think the Race for Life is an amazing opportunity. The atmosphere is out of this world. Everyone is here for the same reason.’
Lana adds: ‘I feel elated now. I was pushed round most of the way because my legs gave way, but I was quite emotional at the end. It’s been amazing.’
Lana, of Botley Drive in Leigh Park, works as a nurse in the oncology and haematology department at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham.
She regularly treats patients who are suffering from cancer, particularly blood disorders such as leukaemia.
She says: ‘I think my mum would be really proud, but taking part was not just in memory of her. It was for all the women and men out there who have suffered from cancer.
‘We are trying to make a difference to people’s lives. It’s something I want to do every year to try to find a cure for cancer.
‘Looking now at what sort of treatments are available compared to 20 years ago when my mum was diagnosed, we have come forward a heck of a lot.
‘In another 20 years, hopefully we will have a cure and not have so many people dying from cancer.’