A NEWBURY woman determined to repay Britain’s health service is fundraising to fight cancer.
Sandra Ramirez loves a challenge and has taken part in many cycling and running events to raise money for Women V Cancer, which raises money for Breast Cancer Care, Ovarian Cancer Action, and Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust.
Mrs Ramirez’s quest was inspired by personal circumstances.
Born to an epileptic mother in a Chilean shanty town, her father worked in the fields but didn’t have enough to support the family and Mrs Ramirez’s aunt ended up looking after her sister.
From the age of 13, Mrs Ramirez worked as a fruit picker and then in a factory until she was 20, before looking after the children of an English family in Santiago and later moving with them to England.
Mrs Ramirez said that she suffered a cancer scare when she moved to Newbury, which brought back memories of supporting her best friend with cancer in Chile.
But she said that her treatment in England was totally different to what she found in South America.
“Here in England my experiences were so different,” she said. “The extraordinary support, generosity and patience of the doctors and nurses that I met here, the level of concern and care that I received moved me beyond measure; and the amazing gift of the National Heath Service in this country made me vow to give something back in whatever small way I could.”
This determination to repay the British health system led Mrs Ramirez to join Action for Charity, a group of women who formed to fight cancer.
Since then she has completed the Reading Half Marathon, Race for Life and Ride the Night – a 100km bike ride from Windsor to London for Women V Cancer.
She said: “I love and respect very much the job that Women V Cancer is doing and after my first race I decided to take it to the next level and raise money to help them reach their goals.
“I believe that if we all give a little bit of ourselves, whether by donating or helping raise money, we can make a big difference and help beat cancer.”
Mrs Ramirez is now setting her sights on cycling in Africa to raise more money for the three charities.
She will be hosting a Super Salsa Night at St Nicolas’ Church Hall, Newbury, to raise money for the charity on Saturday, March 28, starting at 7.30pm.
The event costs £15 and includes a Salsa class and show, a raffle and refreshments.
To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/SandraRamirez/