Top golf coach Lysa Jones was in the middle of leading her county team to victory at a major tournament when she discovered a lump in her breast.
But the experienced pro was able to draw on her sporting discipline to put aside her health worries and steer the Yorkshire Ladies to victory in the 2019 North of England County Championships.
Lysa, whose elite work includes coaching the England under 18s boys, went on to be diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer which has been successfully treated.
Now Lysa is sharing her experience in the hope that it will encourage others to join her and take part in an illuminating night-time walking event for Cancer Research UK.
Lysa, who lives near York, will be teaming up with friends for the charity’s 10k Shine Night Walk, which is returning to the city on Saturday 1 October. Entries are open now and Lysa is keen for people of all abilities to step up and follow in her footsteps to raise money for life-saving research.
The event starts at Rowntree Park at 7pm, when participants will take to the city’s streets in a fun and inspirational parade of light that will help Cancer Research UK get closer to beating cancer.
It will pass some of York’s best-known landmarks, including the Minster and Yorkshire Museum.
‘I feel very grateful’
Treatment was a lumpectomy followed by radiotherapy and medication which will be prescribed for five years.
“It was a date I try to forget,” she said of the diagnosis. “It was traumatic as the day I was told of my diagnosis was the ten-year anniversary of when my mum lost her battle to cancer.
“I said to the surgeon, can you take my breast off? I don’t need it. He laughed and said we don’t do things like that now.
“I received radiotherapy and attended hospital every day for three weeks. I continued to work which got me through the process.
“Three years on and I feel very grateful. I’ve certainly changed lots in my life, including diet and generally taking more care about myself.”
Lysa, who took up golf when she was 14, played at a high level, including on the ladies’ European tour, before qualifying as a PGA professional in 1999.
Recognised by Golf Monthly as one of the UK’s top 50 coaches, she has received an England golf outstanding achievement award and was invited to attend UK Sport’s leadership Olympic programme.
Today she is part of Graham Walker’s Golf Academy Professional team at The Oaks Golf Club and Spa at Aughton near York.
“My experience means I understand the importance of Cancer Research UK’s work,” she added.
“The memory doesn’t go away. I remember when I had that diagnosis, saying to myself I can’t die, I’m too young. It’s a bit like having an out-of-body experience.
“I feel people were there for me and I would love to raise awareness. I’m so grateful to have more precious time with my sisters Gail and Maria and loved ones.
“I owe everything to research into better treatments so I hope that sharing my story will help inspire people to sign up for the Shine Night Walk.”
To enter or volunteer visit the Shine Walk website.
To sponsor Lysa visit her fundraising page here.