A WOMAN given a 'second chance' at life after surviving a cancer scare 20 years ago has marked the anniversary by raising money for research into the disease.

Kay Young, of High Pittington, County Durham, was in her 20s when diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

Fortunately, an early diagnosis and two operations to remove a cyst the size of a melon meant she avoided chemotherapy.

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After five years of check-ups she was given the all clear and has been in remission ever since.

To mark her 49th birthday this week, she had her hair cut short to raise money for the Eve Appeal, a charity dedicated to funding research into gynaecological cancer.

“I was 28 when I was diagnosed. I was just very lucky. I looked as though I was five months pregnant so I went to the doctor,” she recalled.

“It was a fluke I got to see the gynaecologist so quickly and after the first operation, the surgeon said it was a stage one cancer – they caught it very early."

Miss Young said it gave her a second chance at life.

“Something like this really changes your outlook on life – it totally changed everything,” she said.

“I was single and I had to come to terms with not being able to have children.”

She took a place on a business and human resource management course at Sunderland University which led to a job with Hartlepool-based Working Links, helping the unemployed gain skills needed to find work.

“I have always donated money and completed the Race for Life, but I thought after 20 years, it was about time I did something for the charity,” said Miss Young.

So far she has raised about £400 for the Eve Appeal, with more donations to be collected.