A CANCER survivor who has undergone a double mastectomy and a hysterectomy is setting out to conquer the Yorkshire Marathon.

Triathlete Deborah Cooper is the image of vitality as she prepares for Sunday’s event, however the mum-of-two has fought a long and arduous battle to get to the starting line.

Deborah, from Easingwold, was at the peak of physical fitness when she was diagnosed with breast cancer six years ago, at the age of 44.

Just weeks after completing an Ironman event that took in a 2.5 mile swim, 112 miles of cycling and a marathon, she found a lump.

Within a week she was diagnosed with breast cancer and just a month later underwent a mastectomy.

She did not need chemotherapy or radiotherapy, as the cancer had not spread to her lymph nodes, however, tests revealed that she had the BRCA2 gene variation, predisposing her to both breast and ovarian cancer.

Deborah said: “I made the tough decision to have a second mastectomy. There were also concerns about my ovaries, as both my grandma and great-grandma had died of ovarian cancer, so I had a full hysterectomy too.

“It was hard, as I hadn’t been with my husband Jon for very long, but he was amazing - so understanding.

“One of the worst days was when I had to tell my children. Looking my daughter in the eye and saying, ‘I have breast cancer’ was harder than being told I had it myself.”

Other members of her family have now been tested for the BRCA2 gene and have rallied round to support her.

Throughout her treatment, Deborah remained committed to keeping fit: “I still managed to run, cycle and swim, even after my first diagnosis.

“I was always going to keep fit.

"I wanted to keep my mind healthy as much as my body.

“We got through it and now, here I am, doing a marathon!

“Every time I went to the hospital I bought a card from their shop and had a chat with the lovely ladies who work there.

“I was lucky enough not to need their services, but I saw the huge amount of work that the charity does to support people through cancer treatment.

“I want to give something back, so I’m running for York Against Cancer.”

Deborah is now free of cancer.

To support her fundraising search for Deborah Cooper Yorkshire Marathon at www.justgiving.com