Appeal after much-loved Cirencester physiotherapist dies from rare cancer

The daughter of a much-loved Cirencester physiotherapist is raising money to fund research into the rare cancer that took her mother’s life.

Helen Hall was diagnosed with mucosal melanoma in March 2019, and died in September last year at the age of 65.

Her daughter Lorna will take on a sprint triathlon next month, alongside friend Sophie, to aid research into the rare condition.

“My mum’s illness was extremely rare,” she said.

“Although there is a lot of funding with cancer research, when cancers aren’t very common there is less research.

“When people do get the rarer cancers there’s not a lot that can be done for them.

“Just because it is rare shouldn’t mean there’s no research done about it.”

Helen and her family moved to Corinium Gate 12 years ago from the Fairford area.

She was well known in the town for running Active Physiotherapy on The Whiteway.

“Her patients absolutely loved her,” said Lorna.

“We couldn’t go shopping without people wanting to stop and say hello and how much better they feel.”

Helen also loved volunteering with Phoenix Gardeners and had been planning on going back to help them when she was better.

She went into remission briefly before the cancer came back, but a pause in her treatment following kidney failure meant she was no longer eligible on the NHS, and the family were forced to pay for expensive private care.

“We are not sure if any of that was worth doing but there weren’t any other options,” said Lorna, who wants to raise awareness of difficulties patients have in getting treatment.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Lorna and Helen HallLorna and Helen Hall

If enough money is raised, Lorna wants to divide it up between the hospitals currently running trials for patients with mucosal melanoma.

“I just want to help families and other people who are going through it,” she said.

“Just to know a bit more about it as I felt we were really in the dark.”

Lorna will be taking on the Henley Sprint Triathlon, which consists of a 400m swim, 25km cycle and 5km run, on July 10.

“I’ve absolutely no experience,” she confessed.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Lorna with Triathlon partner SophieLorna with Triathlon partner Sophie

“I had to have swimming lessons to relearn how to swim.

“It’s been nice to have something positive to focus on and not just dwell on the sadness.”

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