An Ayrshire woman who overcamebreast cancer has shared her pride after being given the honour of starting a cancer charity's Race for Life event in Glasgow at the weekend.

Aileen Rourke, 51, discovered a lump in her breast in 2022 and following tests, was given the devastating news that it was cancerous.

Thankfully, following treatment, she was given the all-clear - and had the honour on Sunday morning of starting thousands of inspirational fund-raisers off on their Race for Life journeys in aid of Cancer Research UK from Glasgow Green.

Following the event on May 19, Aileen, who works as a district general manager at SP Energy Networks, part of the ScottishPower group, is now sharing her story to raise awareness of the importance of regularly checking for lumps and paying attention to any possible symptoms.

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She’s also an enthusiastic supporter of the partnership between ScottishPower and Cancer Research UK which has raised more than £35 million since it started in 2012 and isn’t stopping there.

Aileen said: “Cancer is such a devastating disease and impacts so many of us.

"Like many of us, I’ve lost friends and family to it but for some reason, you can feel like it wouldn’t happen to you.

“Last year, I found a lump in my breast and went to get it checked out right away.

"It was thanks to the early diagnosis and treatment that I was fortunate enough to eventually get the all-clear.

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“But it’s such an eye opener and the treatment is physically and mentally gruelling at times.

"I’m lucky that my employer was amazing throughout and the work ScottishPower does to raise money for Cancer Research UK is incredible and will help us to beat cancer sooner.

“Having the privilege of starting this year’s 10k Race for Life was amazing and I’m so thankful to both ScottishPower and Cancer Research UK for the opportunity.

"It was incredibly inspiring to see everyone coming together in such a positive atmosphere to help make a real difference and help others.”

Vicky Kelsall, chief executive at SP Energy Networks, said: “We’re all so proud of Aileen and it was fitting to have her as our special guest starter at the 10k Race for Life.

“She’s an inspiration to us all not only for the way she faced her own cancer journey head on but for her positive and upbeat personality each and every day.

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“Aileen’s been such a positive supporter of our partnership with Cancer Research UK and it’s thanks to colleagues like her that we’re able to continue to do everything in our power to support the charity’s life-saving work.”

Lisa Adams, Cancer Research UK spokeswoman in Scotland, said: “We are so grateful to Aileen and to all at ScottishPower for their support.

“Aileen’s enthusiasm and energy at Race for Life Glasgow shone through and added to what was an incredible day with so many people joining together with friends and family to help beat cancer.

"Funds raised will help scientists fund new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, helping save more lives.”