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The charity making life better by water

Meet Tanya near Weston Turville

Woman running on the Grand Union Canal in dappled shade, surrounded by trees

The water has been a big part of my recovery from cancer and I regularly come running and walking here. I was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour with no hope of cure and was told I only had 12 to 18 months to live. That was over three years ago. I'm still here, still fit and well and active and outliving my prognosis.

I live just a few hundred yards from the Grand Union Canal and Weston Turville Reservoir, and running along the towpath really helps me - through both the sense of wellbeing I get from being by the water and the physical fitness.

Wellbeing from the water

It's been proven that exercise brings improvement to cancer sufferers, in both wellbeing and prognosis. I started by walking and then running, and this year I set up the Brainstrust Brain Tumour Runners to encourage others to do the same. I also did the annual 11 mile Canal Walk on the beautiful Grand Union Canal with friends - and loads of others with and without brain tumours - to help raise awareness of vital brain tumour research. The walk is lovely and very easy, even though it's 11 miles, because it's all flat along the towpath between Stoke Hammond and Leighton Buzzard and back, with a pub stop at the half way point.

Running on the Grand Union Canal

I'm a retired A&E consultant, and mum of three grown-up children. When I was told I had a brain tumour I wasn't willing to accept the medical prognosis of 'no hope'. I had surgery, radiotherapy and chemo, but I also changed my way of life to include a ketogenic diet and healthy exercise, along with my faith and hope. I'm incredibly positive and absolutely determined to be a long-term survivor.

I can't give any answers to why I'm surviving but I can talk about the hope that I have, and I'm passionate about spreading that hope. I write a blog and I've just written a book 'The Hope that I Have' with the aim of trying to spread the word about the possibility of recovery from a terminal prognosis. I believe that hope is the single most important therapeutic thing in the treatment of any disease.

Weston Turville Reservoir

Today I'm just running along part of the Wendover Arm off the Grand Union Canal. It's not about how fast I run, it's all about enjoying the healthy exercise in this beautiful Buckinghamshire scenery.

Tanya, Near Weston Turville, Grand Union Canal

photo of a location on the canals
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