Biggleswade charity campaigner is making a giant leap for cancer research

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A health campaigner is taking to the skies on Tuesday to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Laura Chavez-Waite will be skydiving in the Swiss Alps to raise money in memory of her grandmother.

She said: “Despite my intense fear of heights, I will be throwing myself 13,000ft out of a plane over the Swiss Alps to raise much needed funds for the vital services provided by Macmillan Cancer Support, so they can continue to provide the wonderful palliative care and support to those with cancer as well as support for their loved ones during what is an incredibly difficult time.

“My grandmother was one of those affected and the Macmillan nurses did such an incredible job in taking care of her, by not only offering practical help where she needed it but also by helping keep her as comfortable and pain free as possible whilst ensuring she was treated with the utmost dignity and respect.

“She was later admitted into a hospice where she spent the final weeks of her life. Having seen first-hand the effects of this disease and having lost a loved one to it, this is my way of standing up to cancer and giving something back so that Macmillan can continue to help more people affected by cancer.

“My aim is to raise £750. A portion of the donation will be used by Macmillan to reimburse registration costs for the skydive, with a minimum of 60% going directly to help people affected by cancer.”

Laura, aged 30, from Biggleswade, has already smashed her initial target but is hoping to raise much more.

It’s not her first charity success though.

Laura suffers from endometriosis, a painful disorder and chronic condition in which tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus grows outside the uterus. It affects one in 10 women and can have a debilitating effect on sufferers.

Laura has now taken part in a charity calendar for 2019 to highlight the condition.

Twelve women, who are all sufferers of endometriosis, have come together for the project to raise the profile of the condition which in many cases doctors still fail to diagnose correctly.

Laura added: “In my case, it took well over 10 years and countless trips to the GP who turned me away for a long time without any tests, despite telling them I strongly suspected endometriosis based on my symptoms.

“By the time I was diagnosed, I had stage 4 widespread and deep infiltrating endometriosis which had also spread to my bladder and bowel.

“Due to the severity, my first consultant advised that it was too severe for him to treat and was “certainly beyond my surgical skills”. This resulted in me being referred to a specialist who had me in theatre. They found that both of my ovaries were so enlarged that they were touching in the middle. Everything in the pelvic region was covered in endometriosis and stuck together, as was my bowel. I also had several large endometriomas on both ovaries.

“My last excision surgery was 3 years ago but my symptoms have returned and I am now in the process of being referred to a gastroenterologist specialist as it is believed that due to the severity of my endometriosis when I was finally diagnosed, it has resulted in some degree of bowel/bladder dysfunction which is causing a lot of the pain I am now experiencing.

“In February, in a bid to raise awareness on this condition, myself and 11 other women across the country who began as complete strangers, came together to create a 2019 calendar, with 100% of the profits going to Endometriosis UK. The photo shoot took place in an American style diner in Blackpool and when the BBC caught wind of our project, they got in touch and asked if they would be able to not only interview us but film the entire event. They put together a short film of our shoot for Endometriosis Awareness month which went live in March on the BBC news website homepage, as well as on the BBC Like That Facebook page. The video has racked up over 600,000 views so far.”

To find out more about the condition go to https://endometriosiscalendar.com/

To support Laura’s skydive go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/macmillancancerskydive