A gran-of-four is fighting fit after beating cancer twice in the last five years – and she says it’s all thanks to BOXING.
Karen Bonar Davies was first diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2008, followed by kidney cancer five years later.
The mum-of-three from Larkhall, South Lanarkshire, had to have a mastectomy and energy-sapping chemotherapy to help battle the disease.
But the 53-year-old credits her fighting spirit to her time in the ring, after she started training at Duries Boxing Gym in Rutherglen, South Lanarkshire.
In an attempt to maintain her fitness and strength throughout her gruelling treatment, Karen worked on her core and took part in intense sparring sessions.
Karen, who started boxing in 2011, said: “At first I was a bit unsure because I had never done anything like it.”
“I was at the gym right up until my surgery the second time, knowing I had another fight on my hands – the guys are brilliant and really supportive.”
Her first bout with cancer was in 2008, and Karen says the day she was diagnosed is one she’ll “never forget”.
She said: “I went for tests and was asked to bring someone with me when I went to get my results – I knew something wasn’t right.
“They said they could do nothing with it and told me my left breast needed to be removed.”
Five years later Karen was just months from receiving the all clear when she was dealt another devastating blow – after doctors found a 7cm tumour in one of her kidneys.
But a determined Karen remained active and continued to train relentlessly at the boxing gym and even took part in marathon runs.
She continued to box during her chemotherapy treatment despite stuggling to lift her arms above her head or use a hairdryer.
She said: “While I was having my chemotherapy I was still working, helping people with learning difficulties in the community.
“I lost my hair but didn’t get half the effects other people get – I was hopeful and felt very motivated.”
“My family were devastated and my daughter had a three-month-old baby when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, but mentally I knew I needed to keep fit.
“I was young when I lost my mother, who we believed had cancer but never let on she did, then one day she died of a massive heart attack.
“But if you kick me down I will always get back up – I’m quite a ‘get on with it’ person.”
Karen’s fighting spirit has seen her be given the all clear from her kidney cancer from doctors and she is gearing up to trek the Great Wall of China.
Karen and fellow fundraiser, Cat Foyer, will take on the feat next year for charity after receiving support from Rangers legend Willie Henderson – who lost his daughter to cancer.
Karen said: “We’re fundraising for Glasgow Children’s Hospital. I don’t think they get a lot of recognition for what they do.
“I spoke to Willie Henderson about our fundraiser, he’s a lovely man and has been very supportive.”
Karen, who works at Glasgow Royal Infirmary as an auxiliary nurse where she received her breast operation, added: “I love my job.
“I’m very grateful for the surgeons, if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be here today.
“They did a fantastic job, it’s incredible the work they do.”