A FUN-loving single mum was told her rare cancer had spread dangerously shortly after stepping off the plane for a holiday in Cyprus with her three children.

Julie Rose, from Bridgwater, when she received a phone call soon after landing in Paphos from a nurse warning that any sudden movement could snap her spine.

Julie said: "I was told that one of the tumours was compressing against my spinal cord and that it might snap if I jolted it.

"She said that if I was at home, an ambulance would be sent to take me to hospital for an urgent MRI and then surgery."

The freelance photographer is urging people to take part in Race for Life at Home to raise vital funds for Cancer Research UK.

Julie, 48, said: “I had a really optimistic attitude after being told I had cancer in October last year and I didn’t think it would be anything too much to worry about.

“When I entered the room where the doctor and a nurse were waiting for me.

"It was explained I had a rare type of thyroid cancer called Medullary thyroid cancer.

"I broke down at the shock of the news and fired a million questions at him. My brain went into overload.

"He explained they would need to send me for a CT scan to check it hadn’t spread to anywhere else.

“I told him I had a holiday booked in a few weeks’ time and he said I would be OK to go as nothing would happen sooner.

“When I had the call whilst on holiday to say the cancer had spread, you can imagine I spent the rest of the week trying to digest this awful news.

PROUD MUM: Julie Rose with her three children

PROUD MUM: Julie Rose with her three children

Julie with her children

"I was afraid to move in case I snapped. I pulled myself together and put on a brave face for the rest of the holiday for the sake of my children."

When she arrived home, Julie went straight to hospital, had the MRI and then surgery to remove the tumour the next day.

After three weeks she had a thyroidectomy and lymph node dissection.

She added: "It all happened so quickly, from living a normal life and being very active to being told I had advanced cancer with a compromised future.

“I’m currently placed on watch and wait rather than having any drug treatments.

Bridgwater Mercury:

"As a single parent with three children I wanted to have the best option for me as it allows me to live my best life without drugs.

“I am hopeful that there are treatments available for me, but I will never be cured. and most treatments don’t sound very kind.

"It’s a long road ahead and my life has been turned completely upside down, and my future is uncertain, ever since that awful day that cancer knocked on my door.”

Sport-loving Julie spent many weekends in the past taking part in obstacle events, running and cycling with tough muddy challenges through fields and cross country and is keen to keep up her fitness levels while also looking after herself.

Bridgwater Mercury:

People can visit raceforlife.org to sign up to Race for Life at Home for £5, then receive a pack which includes a medal.

Money raised will help scientists find new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, helping to save more lives.  

Alison Birkett, Cancer Research UK’s spokesperson for Somerset, said: “Even whilst we’re still apart, we can unite against cancer.

“The truth is, Covid-19 has slowed us down.  But we will never stop and we are absolutely determined to continue to create better cancer treatments for tomorrow.  

"Even though we have to Race for Life differently this spring, nothing is going to stop us running, walking or jogging 5k to raise money to help beat cancer.

"That’s why we need as many people as possible across Somerset to sign up to Race for Life at Home this April, to stand united and do something extraordinary to help beat cancer.

“We’re constantly monitoring the Covid-19 situation and are working hard to move our mass participation Race for Life events to the autumn and to make sure they can go ahead safely and with all necessary Covid-19 guidelines in place."