Karate Helen kicks cancer, winning black belt months after chemo ends

Helen Hogg pictured during her cancer treatment with father Kevin Wintersgill

Helen Hogg pictured during her cancer treatment with father Kevin Wintersgill

First published in News The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author Exclusive by , Reporter (Durham)

A TRAINEE teacher diagnosed with cancer just three months after her wedding day has claimed her black belt in karate.

Helen Hogg and husband Stew were devastated when medics identified her advanced stage Hodgkin’s Lymphoma back in October 2012.

The cancer was in Mrs Hogg’s neck, chest and spleen and was threatening to block veins in one of her arms.

She was forced to put her teacher training, beloved karate and much of the rest of her life on hold and immediately begin chemotherapy, which continued for six months at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care, in Newcastle.

When that ended, medics were worried the tumours had not disappeared, so they sent her for radiotherapy, which meant a hospital trip every day for three weeks.

It was only last June that her gruelling treatment ended.

But the 22-year-old returned to Kokoro Karate Club, in Dunston, Gateshead, in August and resumed her teacher training at Newcastle University a month later.

Determined to put her cancer behind her, Mrs Hogg, of Ushaw Moor, near Durham City, quickly proved her martial art skills had not faded and on Wednesday (February 19) gained her karate black belt at Dunston Activity Centre, with friends and family watching on in support.

She said: “I’m really proud of myself.

“I really wanted to pass because I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it.

“Before I got ill I was due to take my black belt, but being ill put it off. I wanted to say to myself: ‘That’s done now’.

“I was really happy. I’ve wanted to get my black belt for ages. It’s why I went into karate.”

Mrs Hogg is now in remission, although she won’t get the all clear for five years.

Having taken up karate eight years ago and gained her previous belt, the third brown, in January 2012, she can now seek to work up the Dan or Kyu rankings.

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