More than 60 friends have joined a Hitchin mum on a 5k run, as she celebrated the end of her cancer treatment.

Louise Lovatt and her army of supporters took part in the Stevenage Race for Life in July last year, and she is now preparing to take on the challenge for a second time in 2024.

Louise underwent 15 months of chemotherapy, surgery, radiotherapy and targeted therapy, before overcoming her breast cancer.

Having already watched her mum go through cancer, Louise had regularly checked her own breasts for changes when she felt something unusual.

She commented: “I had already had various cysts investigated but in March 2022, I found a lump that felt very different.

"After a mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy, it felt like time stopped when they told me I had HER2 positive breast cancer.

"While I had suspected the lump could be cancerous, it was still such a shock and I remember thinking, ‘This isn’t the plan, I have an 11-year-old son who’s about to begin his SATS and who will be starting secondary school soon'.

“While Jacob headed to school for his tests, I began chemotherapy which was tough for us both. I was keen to get started on the treatment as soon as possible to hopefully get rid of the cancer as fast as I could but found the side effects, such as losing my hair, really tough.

“Jacob and my husband, Dan, wanted to do something to help so they signed up for Race for Life in 2022 and raised a phenomenal £6,500.

"I also tried to stay really active and walked my cockapoo Bertie every day, often with friends or family which really helped get me through my treatment.

The Comet: Louise will race again at the Stevenage Race for Life in July.Louise will race again at the Stevenage Race for Life in July. (Image: Cancer Research UK)

“Surgery soon followed after which my wonderful consultant confirmed that the chemotherapy had done its job and destroyed the cancer. Jacob burst into tears, knowing it was gone.

“I still needed radiotherapy and continued to receive a regular injection of a drug combination called Phesgo (trastuzumab and pertuzumab) that targeted the proteins in my body that were helping my cancer to grow.

"After my last injection, I didn’t plan to ring the bell to mark the end of my treatment but decided as a family that we needed that closure, especially for Jacob.

"Of course, we had Race for Life two days later which was a brilliant way to mark the end of a gruelling 15 months with my friends and family.

"I was really keen to get as many people as possible involved to fundraise for the kind of research that has helped me, especially for those cancers which don’t yet have as many treatment options. 

"I hoped it would also encourage those who either joined us or sponsored us to check themselves regularly."

The 44-year-old and her friends raised almost £17,000 for Cancer Research UK last summer, and will take part in this year's event on July 7.

Louise said: “I had no idea our group would become so big when I started asking friends if they would like to join us.

"Soon we had parents from my son’s football team and school coming along and we raised an incredible amount for research.

“It was a great day and lots of people said we should make it a regular thing. I know many are up for it again this summer.

“I still find looking too far ahead difficult but I’m trying hard to find my new normal. 


"I have an amazing support network and I know that my wonderful friends and family will help me find that ‘finish line feeling’ at Race for Life Stevenage again this summer.

"I hope my story will inspire people across Herts to sign up too."

Elisa Mitchell, Cancer Research UK’s spokesperson in Hertfordshire, added: “We are grateful to Louise and her army of friends and family for their support and know their story will make an impact on everyone who hears it."