A cancer patient who survived after her heart stopped four times in three hours has completed her very first half marathon thanks to the care of a dedicated team.
Rebecca Langley was just 30-years-old when she was diagnosed with stage 3 bowel cancer and shortly after had her colon and four tumours removed leaving her with a permanent stoma.
When Rebecca started chemotherapy, she reacted badly to the medications and suffered two seizures in the space of 24 hours, followed by four cardiac arrests within three hours.
As a result, Rebecca spent five days being cared for in Intensive Care at Royal Surrey County Hospital, before being moved to the High Dependency Unit and then finally a ward.
Rebecca said: “I am fully aware that I would not be here if it weren’t for the amazing work of the Intensive Care Unit at the Royal Surrey.
“My overriding memory is of the outstanding care I received; every little detail of my care was thought about, things that you wouldn’t consider until you are in that position.
“The nurses stay with the patients 24 hours a day, on a one-to-one basis, but also take account of the family’s needs, which is so important.
“When I was in Intensive Care I dreamt of being able to jog or walk 5km within a year.
“I was in so much pain and so weak that I thought that was adventurous.
“If somebody had told me then that I would have been strong enough to be training for a 13.1 mile run a year later, I definitely would not have believed them.”
Following her discharge from the hospital, Rebecca used sport to aid her recovery, which she found gave her a physical and mental boost.
After gradually building up her endurance by participating in various local runs and her first triathlon, just less than a year after her surgery for bowel cancer, Rebecca completed the New Forest Half Marathon in two and a half hours, sixteen months after her ICU stay, in aid of the Royal Surrey County Hospital Charity.
Rebecca added: “Despite being completely and utterly exhausted, I was over the moon to have finished my half marathon.
“I feel that by fundraising for the Royal Surrey County Hospital Charity, I can do a little something to say ‘thank you’ and help them to continue their life saving work.”
Rebecca talks highly of the Intensive Care follow-up clinic and the vital role of the Unit’s Clinical Psychology service from which she received support.
Dr Justin Kirk-Bayley, Consultant Intensivist & Anaesthetist said: “Working at the very edge of life in Intensive Care is challenging for patients, families and staff alike.
“What keeps everyone going is the knowledge that after such life-changing events there is hope that patients won’t just exist, but truly live.
“What Rebecca has done after what happened to her is truly remarkable.
“Few people have a tale such as hers to tell, and even fewer have been able to go on and achieve what she has in such a short time afterwards.
“We shall be watching her achievements as she truly goes from strength to strength. Her success pushes us on further too.”
Rebecca has already raised over £1000 and her Virgin Money Giving page is still open for donations and can be found under the tag ‘Resus 2 Runner’.
All funds raised will be donated to the Royal Surrey County Hospital Charity, with the money going to support the work of the Intensive Care Unit.