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Sandra Mathias writes:

In November 2019 I will be carrying out an all-women charity challenge and cycling across Costa Rica, east coast to west coast, approximately 387km / 241 miles. I will be self-funding the tour costs, therefore all funds raised will go directly to the three charities. Please have a peep at my justgiving page for lots more information: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sandramathias

This is my second charity cycle challenge for these three amazing charities, having completed one in Brazil in 2017. Whilst doing this one, I very quickly became aware of the depth of the camaraderie within the group. We were all there to raise money to help combat cancer, and in doing so, each of us had our own personal challenge, learning about ourselves when outside of our comfort zone, discovering what we could achieve with a bit of effort and determination, helping one another along the way. There was much laughter, and as many tears – please help me to help the ladies and their families who are struggling to cope with any of these cancers.

During the next 6-8 months I will be actively fundraising for Breast Cancer Care; Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust and Ovarian Cancer Action. I am hoping to do as much as I can in these colder months so from next spring I can focus solely on the training.

The three charities that I am fundraising for are:

Ovarian Cancer Action strives to stop women dying from ovarian cancer. The charity funds world class scientific research leading to innovative treatments and progressive solutions. Ovarian Cancer Action campaigns to ensure women and healthcare providers know the risk factors, symptoms and treatment options to enable informed and rapid action. They demand that every woman should have the best treatment available. Ovarian Cancer Action is the leading ovarian cancer charity in the UK. It is dedicated to improving women’s chances of surviving ovarian cancer by raising awareness of the disease and its symptoms; funding research at the Ovarian Cancer Action Research Centre and other research facilities in the UK; and giving a voice to women affected by the disease. Ovarian cancer is the biggest gynaecological killer and the fifth most common cancer in women in the UK, affecting around 6,600 women every year in the UK. Under 40% of women diagnosed with the disease will live within five years, a statistic that has not significantly improved in the UK for 20 years.

Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust is the UK’s only charity dedicated to women, their families and friends affected by cervical abnormalities and cervical cancer. It is there to ensure that women never feel alone at any stage of their journey by providing easily accessible information and support 24 hours a day. In the UK, almost every day nearly three women die from cervical cancer. Each year around 3,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and around 220,000 are told they have an abnormality that may require treatment. Cervical cancer is the most common cancer for women aged 35 and under. Cervical cancer is largely preventable thanks to cervical screening (smear tests) and HPV (human papillomavirus vaccination) programmes, yet there is a major concern at the numbers of women not taking up these potentially life-saving opportunities. Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust want to see this cancer prevented and are working towards a future where it becomes a thing of the past.

Breast Cancer Care is the only specialist UK-wide charity that supports people affected by breast cancer. They bring people together, provide information and support, and campaign for improved standards of care, and have been doing so since 1973. They use their understanding of people’s experience of breast cancer and their clinical expertise in everything they do. Offering support over the phone and online, from nurses and people who’ve been there, locally and nationally. From the moment you notice that something isn’t right, through to treatment and beyond, they are there to help you feel more in control.