Grantham slim club members unite to beat cancer

Joolie Cunningham and Debbie Wingad.
Joolie Cunningham and Debbie Wingad.
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A group of slimmers have been shedding pounds from their pockets as well as their waists after eight members were diagnosed with breast cancer in recent months.

Thirty members from Grantham’s Slimming World group, based at the Jubilee Church Life Centre, London Road, embarked on a three-and-half-mile walk from Grantham Squash Club on Harlaxton Road to The Dirty Duck in Woolsthorpe by Belvoir, on Sunday, to raise over £2,000 for St Barnabas Hospice and Macmillan Cancer Support.

Joolie Cunningham, who has been a Slimming World consultant for nearly three years, helped to organise the walk along with fellow member Debbie Wingad.

She said: “The initial idea came about after one of Debbie’s friends, also a member at the group, started receiving treatment for breast cancer, so Debbie decided to organise a walk to raise some money for charity. My mum and nan died from breast cancer, so I asked if I could join her and we extended the invite to the rest of the slimming groups.”

But within a matter of weeks, seven more members were also diagnosed with breast cancer.

Joolie added: “I couldn’t believe it. All of them found out that they had breast cancer within a few weeks of each other.”

Despite everything they have gone through recently, all but two of the women were able to make the walk on Sunday.

Debbie added: “I was originally going to do the walk myself for a friend who was having treatment for breast cancer but once I told the group, lots of members wanted to get involved too which was great. We had to postpone the orginal date for the walk as it was snowing but I am glad we waited.”

The entire group took just under two hours to complete the walk on Sunday.

Joolie added: “One of the women was not able to make it due to having surgery but she was so determined to still do her part and raise money, that she walked the route a week early instead. The other lady is preparing for surgery and hopes to complete the walk at a later date. They are incredible.”

The sun shone as the walkers made tackled the three-and-a-half mile route.

Joolie added: “We couldn’t have asked for better weather. It was a great way to get everyone out and about and socialising as well as raising money for a cause that is close to all our hearts. Some of the older ladies said that they had never walked that far in their lives – and many of them decided to walk back too!”

After several of the members revealed that they may not have been diagnosed if they hadn’t had lost weight, Joolie added: “I always say that there is so much more to losing weight – it is a lifestyle change, but now I believe that it is a life-saving change too.”