A Harrogate cancer survivor is to follow in the footsteps of Frankel and Frankie Dettori when they saddle up at York Racecourse and race in a bid to raise thousands of pounds for Macmillan Cancer support.
Julie Kelshaw, 48, is to take part in the Ride of their Lives event on June 11 along with 12 other fundraising riders, including Marcia Sanderson, 47 from Ripon.
The mother-of-two is set to race almost three years to the day from being diagnosed with cancer in her tongue. She was successfully treated following major surgery.
Julia said: “When you’re told you have cancer, you’re in shock and it’s difficult to take it all in.
“I had two Macmillan nurses who were there for me from the start, through my treatment and recovery. I had all sorts of questions about my operation - it was going to last 10 hours so I was quite worried.
“They knew the treatment like the back of their hand so they were able to put my mind at rest. They visited me everyday I was in hospital and when I was back home I knew they were only ever a phone call away. They were fantastic.
“I wanted to take part in the race to give something back to Macmillan, and because it’s in York where I had my operation. I’m really excited about the day; there are plans for a coach-load of friends and family to come over to cheer me on.
“I’ve ridden since I was a child but I’ve only started riding again regularly since last summer. I’ve got a lot of riding ahead of me and work in the gym. It’s a big challenge but that’s exactly what I was looking for.”
Riders had a meet and greet day at York Racecourse on Monday to start their challenge. In the months to come, they will be given expert riding tuition at the Northern Racing College in Doncaster and a training day back at York with former champion jockey Kevin Darley.
The riders have all have pledged to raise at least £2,500 each for Macmillan.
Nikki Denton, Special Events Manager at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “We’re so grateful these 12 amateur riders are taking on such a huge physical challenge to raise money for Macmillan.
Tickets for Macmillan Charity Raceday, from www.yorkracecourse.co.uk