Christine lights up her village

The Northern Echo: Christine Sewell switching on the Christmas lights in Sherburn Village Christine Sewell switching on the Christmas lights in Sherburn Village

A GRANDMOTHER who raised £1,300 money for charity after suffering a stroke and breast cancer has switched on the Christmas lights for her community.

Christine Sewell, 65, has flicked the switch to start festivities near her home at Sherburn Village Community Centre, near Durham, today (Sunday, December 8) at 4pm.

In 2011, while watching television with friends and family she lost sight in her left eye and had to adapt to life having suffered a stroke.

Just over a year later, Mrs Sewell attended a mammogram screening and the results showed the early signs of breast cancer leading to her diagnosis in October 2012.

She said: "Despite everything that has happened, I actually feel like I've been lucky.

“Ok, so I lost my sight in one eye when I had a stroke, but it could have been so much worse.

“I feel the same about cancer. When I was diagnosed, it felt like a death sentence. “As time has gone on though, things have changed."

A mother-of-one, and a proud grandmother, she needed a lumpectomy, surgery where the cancer and an area of surrounding tissue is removed.

This was followed by chemeotherapy and radiotherapy.

She said: "There were, of course, side effects. I thought I was prepared for my hair falling out but when it happened I was gutted.

“The thing is, you have two options: sit around on your behind feeling sorry for yourself or get on with it. I chose the latter. I wasn't prepared to give in.”

With Christine turning 65, she reached a point where she was no longer able to receive sick pay from her job as a college lecturer in South Shields.

She received advice and support from a Macmillan benefits adviser as she adapted to life on a reduced income and took voluntary redundancy in August.

Mrs Sewell said: “I've found friends, family and former colleagues have been very supportive throughout and that has helped a lot.

“I've had Macmillan there too, I use Macmillan cancer information centres for added support.”

Mrs Sewell was involved in Macmillan’s World's Biggest Coffee Morning event in Sherburn this year and helped to raise £1,300 for the charity.

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