Getting an illness like cancer cannot be explained by someone who has never had it; however I am the little sister of a survivor of cancer. My sister Faye has not only survived cancer but she is also a finalist for England’s strongest woman up to 63kg body weight, she has won Northampton’s most inspirational woman award and is the mother of three crazy kids... I’m not sure which is the most impressive! She is definitely an inspiration to anyone who knows her and I am proud to be her sister.
Faye was 20 years old when she first got diagnosed with non Hodgkin lymphoma; she has said “Septicaemia had just set in with a rash on my arms. My head was swelling up as the tumour the size of a grapefruit was crushing my heart, lungs and compressing the veins and arteries”. I was about 8 years old when Faye got ill so although I did not understand what was fully going on, I knew it was bad enough that my family had to tell me about it. Very recently, mine and Faye’s dad said to me “One of the worst days was the day she lost her sight. In the morning she could see out of both eyes then by the evening she could see through one. She could see little black dots in one eye then those dots turned into blindness.” I remember thinking at the time that she was brave; I didn’t know how brave she is until a few years later when I was old enough to understand.
Faye has always been the sportiest out of me and my other siblings; I remember her being particularly good at rugby when we were young. However Faye says “The cancer treatment left my lungs around 50% scar tissues so running sports like athletics or rugby are just not possible!”. She was 30 years old when she started power lifting, she says “I chose it almost by accident, just saw something on Facebook about it and thought ‘I could do that!’”. Now Faye focuses on training people and organising events and would like to be more involved with this in the future. She has won a lot of competitions in the past couple of years including British bench press champion 2015/16 and is always competing.
My sister is a very inspirational woman. Surviving an illness as bad as she had is inspirational in itself. Being a bench press champion is also very impressive. But to have done both of these and to be competing while she is blind in one eye, seriously she is amazing! This incredible woman is inspired by just the people that she meets. She has said “A few create that spark for whatever reason. Their passion, their skill their drive or just their sheer awesomeness”. We can all learn something here; we don’t have to aspire to be a famous athlete, the people that give us inspiration don’t have to be all over the news. Inspiration is everywhere. Our friends, our family or even someone you met down the pub last week, they can all give you inspiration to do what you want to do.
, Mary Jordan