AN 18-stone woman was inspired by cancer to lose weight and dropped seven dress sizes.
After beating cancer, Emma Parker from Jacksdale saw it as a second chance in life, and lost more than eight stone – nearly half her body weight – in just seven months.
In August 2010, aged 18 and already unhappy with her weight, Emma was devastated when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
But now, less than a year on, she has turned her life around and been named Slimming World’s national ‘Miss Slinky 2012’, winning £2,000 to spend on her new size 10 wardrobe.
She said: “Losing weight hasn’t just changed the way I look, it’s changed my whole outlook on life.”
“I’m so much happier now. I feel that after having cancer, I’ve been given a second chance and I want to make the most of it – now I’m doing just that.”
Emma, who lives with her parents and works as a customer service advisor for the Co-operative Group, was overweight from the age of eight or nine.
At her heaviest she weighed more than 18st and found simple tasks like cleaning, walking the dog or climbing stairs left her out of breath and her joints aching.
She was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma 18 months ago after finding a lump in her neck.
“I’d been struggling with my breathing a lot and even started using an inhaler, then I got a cough that wouldn’t go away.
“I thought it was all down to my weight so it was a real shock when I found out I had cancer, especially as I was only 18.”
Emma underwent 12 gruelling chemotherapy sessions and a biopsy and was delighted when doctors decided she didn’t need further treatment.
She joined Slimming World with her doctor’s approval.
“The results have been unbelievable. I lost 4lb in my first week and that’s when I knew I could really do it.”
Next month she will have been clear of cancer for a year.
“Having Hodgkin’s Lymphoma made me realise how important life was and not to take things like your health for granted,” she said.
“I wanted to be as healthy as I could so that if anything ever happened again I would be fitter and stronger, and I wanted to change everything that made me unhappy, which my weight definitely did.”