It wasn’t the 60th year Alex Pilgrim had planned

The former teacher lined up a list of challenges to celebrate her big 6-0. But that all changed when she was diagnosed with bowel cancer in May.

Six months later, with an operation and chemotherapy behind her, she is now lacing up her running shoes to raise money for the charity.

She begins with the Dark Valley 10k in the Moors Valley, Dorset on November 11. Next up is the Wimborne 10 on November 19. Then there’s the Stonehenge Stomp, a 20k challenge on January 29.

Alex Pilgrim at Park Run

Keeping Alex company are her faithful running mates, nicknamed the Combat Crew, who stuck with Alex through her illness and have worked miracles to keep her spirits up.

She was diagnosed with bowel cancer in May after receiving the test kit which forms part of the national bowel cancer screening scheme.

“I had minor symptoms but because I’d had Lyme disease in 2015, I put it down to that,” 

“After a colonoscopy, things started running pretty fast. I had a tumour removed in a six-hour robotic operation at the end of May – it was Stage 3, but it hadn’t spread so I was lucky.”

Having taken up running in 2014, Alex set herself a few targets to aid her recovery, beginning with a run around the block and going back to her regular parkrun.

I thought, ‘this isn’t going to beat me’

Her friends at runblandford running club became her ‘Combat Crew’ complete with matching camouflage wrist bands.

“Running with them has been a hugely motivating and positive part of my recovery. I’d be bereft without them” said Alex. “I feel I’ve turned a corner and am finally getting out of a dark tunnel.”

She chose to support us because she was asked to become part of a research project into bowel disease at Poole Hospital.

“The colorectal team at Poole were very efficient and supportive and I owe them a huge debt of thanks,” she said. “I have also come to realise how important your gut is.”

Our Chief Executive Deborah Gilbert thanked Alex for her support. “It’s great to hear such a positive story of recovery. Our mission is to ensure that no one should die of bowel cancer, and we can only make that happen with the support of fundraisers like Alex,”

Support Alex with her fundraising