Wendy Lodder was diagnosed with rare cancer in October 2016

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A WOMAN whose friend died from a rare cancer is continuing to honour a promise she made to fund research into the condition.

Wendy Lodder was diagnosed with advanced thymic carcinoma in October 2016.

Cancer of the thymus gland, which is in the chest between the lungs, affects less than ten people a year in the UK.

Ms Lodder was referred to the cancer centre at Guy’s Hospital, in London, where she had two major operations and received chemotherapy and immunotherapy treatment.

The 52-year-old, an England Golf under-18 East region volunteer manager, died in 2018.

It was just three months after a charity golf day at Three Rivers Golf and Country Club which raised £10,000.

Friend Sarah Bennett raised a further £10,000 at a second charity golf day in 2019 and is planning a third this September at Colchester Golf Club.

Ms Bennett, a fellow golf professional and PGA captain-elect for 2022, said: “We are continuously exploring various fundraising options to fulfil Wendy’s wishes.

“I’m delighted golf can bring everyone together as it was Wendy’s passion.

“To have the next event at Colchester Golf Club is special as this is where I started my golf career and it’s the club Wendy was associated with in her final few years.

“I was awarded the PGA Toby Sunderland award for charitable work in 2017/18, which, for me, is definitely not a one-night award.

“Remembering the presentation provides ongoing motivation, but, more importantly, the sheer strength of character and positivity Wendy displayed on the night in front of distinguished guests while suffering internally.

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“I know Wendy would be delighted with the progress and ongoing groundbreaking research.”

Ms Bennett, who is from Colchester, met virtually with the research team at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

She found out how the funding is helping them to better understand the genetics of thymic cancer, which could ultimately lead to improved treatment options for people with the condition.

She said: “As a result of this progress, my colleague and I am pleased to announce we are now in a position to release a further £10,000 from Wendy’s Thymic Fundraiser to cover funds for the second phase of research.

“We hope this research will help to find alternative options for people with this rare cancer, such as a targeted therapy.”

Ms Bennett has also signed up to the Colchester virtual half-marathon to raise funds in memory of Ms Lodder.

She said: “I’m new to running so this is a mammoth challenge but I’m determined to achieve a task which is insignificant in comparison to the journey Wendy endured.

“I am delighted we have the support for additional fundraising activities in what has been an extremely difficult two years.

“I am determined to raise awareness of this rare and aggressive cancer and to fund research which will help more people in the future.”

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