A MOTHER of two who survived cancer will start this year’s iconic Race for Life to celebrate winning her fight against the disease.

Karen Holmes, 37, of Huttons Ambo, was left devastated in November last year when she was diagnosed with skin cancer after finding a lump on her body.

The bridal shop worker noticed that a lump on her buttock, which she had found the previous year, had become bigger and more painful and so visited her GP, who at first thought that it could be a blood-filled lump.

But six months later when the lump was still there, Karen underwent surgery to have the growth removed and sent for tests. She was then told that it was a large squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), a type of non-melanoma skin cancer which affects about 2,000 people in the UK every year.

She said: "It was a terrible shock when I was diagnosed with cancer. I never expected anything like that to happen to me.

"It was a very frightening time. I now feel a definite sense of panic every time I find a new mole or lump on my body."

Karen was given the all clear in January and now wants to encourage people to go to their GP if they notice a suspicious looking mole or lump on their body.

"I sat on mine, literally, for 19 months because I was embarrassed," she said.

"But it is absolutely 120 percent important to get moles and lumps checked."

After receiving her diagnosis Karen posted a picture of the lump on Facebook and her bravery led to an old school friend, who had found a similar lump, going to get it checked out.

Karen said: "She started asking me a few questions and it turned out that she had a lump in exactly the same place which turned out to be cancerous too. My honesty has helped someone which is great. I am just so aware of how lucky I have been.”

Along with her 14-year-old daughter Jade, Karen, who also has an 11-year-old son, Cameron, will kick off the Scarborough Race for Life 5k and 10k routes on Wednesday, July 16 on North Promenade.

To sponsor Karen and Jade visit www.justgiving.com/karensraceforlife and to enter the Race for Life visit www.raceforlife.org or call 0845 600 6050