A BRAVE teenager who was VIP guest at Race for Life Oldham is now urging participants to return their sponsorship cash.

Kelsey Shyne-Slater, aged 15, rang the starter bell and set participants on their way at the event at Alexandra Park before taking part in the event with her family back in June.

Now everyone who participated, which for the first time included men this year, is being urged to return their sponsorship money.

Some 757 people took part in Race for Life Oldham. So far, £28,255 has been returned with the hope that the event will eventually hit the £40,000 target.

Kelsey, from Royton, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma when she was just six-months-old. Her mum Melanie had repeatedly visited the GP after finding lumps in her armpits and other parts of her body.

After the family were given the devastating cancer diagnosis, Kelsey embarked on six gruelling months of chemotherapy before undergoing surgery to have the tumour removed.

At one point she weighed the equivalent of a bag of sugar. Kelsey spent her first birthday in hospital and it was feared she might lose a kidney during surgery as it was so close to the tumour, but she made an amazing recovery and has helped to promote Cancer Research UK’s work ever since.

Kelsey, who is a pupil at Newman RC College, was finally given the all-clear from cancer last summer and rang the bell at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital to celebrate such a momentous occasion.

She was VIP guest at Race for Life Oldham back in 2007, aged just three.

Her mum Melanie Slater, aged 42, said: “We all had an amazing day at Race for Life. It was incredibly emotional and we felt so proud of Kelsey and all that she has gone through.

“Our experience means we understand all too clearly why Cancer Research UK’s work is so important and we would urge everyone to return their sponsorship money as quickly as possible.”

Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, in partnership with Tesco, is an inspiring series of 5k, 10k, Pretty Muddy and Pretty Muddy Kids events which raise millions of pounds every year to help beat cancer by funding crucial research.

Jane Bullock, Cancer Research UK’s North West spokeswoman, said: “Kelsey and her mum Melanie are brilliant ambassadors for Race for Life. It’s brilliant to see Kelsey living such a healthy and happy life after being so poorly as a baby.”

One in two people in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer, at some point during their lifetime, but the good news is more people are surviving the disease now than ever before. Cancer survival in the UK has doubled since the early 1970s and Cancer Research UK’s work has been at the heart of that progress.

Jane continued: “Every day, 110 people are diagnosed with cancer in the North West. To make a significant difference in the fight against cancer we need everyone to return their sponsorship money as quickly as possible.”

Cancer Research UK’s life-saving work relies on the public’s support. Thanks to the generosity of its supporters, the charity was able to spend over £28 million last year in the North West on some of the UK’s leading scientific and clinical research.

For further info on how to return your money visit raceforelife.org or call 0300 123 0770.