FIGHT­ING BACK

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Marc McLean

A su­per­fit gran has re­vealed how a Ruther­glen box­ing club helped her beat can­cer for a sec­ond time and stay fight­ing fit.

Karen Bonar Davies first de­feated breast can­cer in 2009 after hav­ing a mas­tec­tomy, 12 rounds of chemo­ther­apy – and by keep­ing her­self phys­i­cally and men­tally strong.

Four years later, Karen was dev­as­tated to learn she had an­other life-or-death bat­tle on her hands.

Medics di­ag­nosed can­cer after dis­cov­er­ing a large tu­mour on Karen’s left kid­ney while they were in­ves­ti­gat­ing sus­pected gall­stones.

But Karen stood strong and, hav­ing joined Durie’s Box­ing Gym in Ruther­glen a year ear­lier, she was ready for an­other fight with can­cer.

Karen, 53, said: “I re­mem­ber telling my coach, Archie Durie, about the di­ag­no­sis and him say­ing, ‘I can’t be­lieve this is hap­pen­ing to you again’.

“I al­ways knew that stay­ing as phys­i­cally fit as I could be would give me the best chance and keep me bal­anced men­tally too.”

Karen had a suc­cess­ful op­er­a­tion to re­move the kid­ney in Oc­to­ber 2013 and, within weeks, was back at the Ruther­glen box­ing club.

The aux­il­iary nurse, who has four grand­chil­dren, re­sumed light spar­ring and con­di­tion­ing ex­er­cises to grad­u­ally strengthen her body again. She said: “Durie’s is a re­ally close group and we are all there for each other. “Archie has been bril­liant and on some of the days when I was not feel­ing so good, the guys and girls would come up and give me a big hug. “They would al­ways be ask­ing how I was when I ar­rived at the gym. “I first went back to Durie’s six weeks after get­ting my kid­ney out. “That first night it felt as if some­one had ripped my in­sides out. Then I started do­ing spar­ring and core work, and be­gan to build my strength up.” Larkhall woman Karen is now fit, healthy, and ex­er­cises at Durie’s sev­eral times a week. She de­scribes the Ruther­glen gym as her “sec­ond home”. Karen also does kick­box­ing at the KMAA mar­tial arts club in Blan­tyre, climbs Mun­ros, and reg­u­larly does 5K and 10K runs. “I ran the 10K Glas­gow Race For Life in 2009 after surgery for breast can­cer and while still re­cev­ing treat­ment,” said Karen.

“I’d had 11 cy­cles of chemo­ther­apy and still had an­other one to go.

“I re­mem­ber that first time in hos­pi­tal after be­ing told I had can­cer I thought ‘why me?’ – but only for a split sec­ond. “Then I said to my­self ‘Why not you?’ and im­me­di­ately I fo­cused on get­ting the mas­tec­tomy pro­ce­dure and get­ting on with my life.”

Hav­ing beaten can­cer twice, Karen has yearly check-ups and medics are in sup­port of her full-on ap­proach to fit­ness.

She said: “All the car­dio train­ing keeps me tick­ing along with my med­i­ca­tion. Men­tally and phys­i­cally, the ex­er­cise keeps me bal­anced. If I hadn’t been for the box­ing gym, I wouldn’t have re­cov­ered aswell as I have now.”

Archie Durie, owner of Durie’s Gym, said: “Karen works ex­tremely hard in the gym and is a real in­spi­ra­tion to all of our mem­bers. She’s shown how tough she is men­tally and phys­i­cally to come through all those very tough chal­lenges in her life. “We’re all very proud of her.” Karen and friend Cat Foyer are now fo­cused on their Great Wall of China trek next May – with the back­ing of former Rangers great Wil­lie Hen­der­son – and are aim­ing to raise as much money as pos­si­ble for The Royal Hos­pi­tal For Chil­dren in Glas­gow.

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