Battling cancer and flying high is all part of positve outlook

Karen Avery on her tandem parachute jump SUS-151013-111110001
Karen Avery on her tandem parachute jump SUS-151013-111110001

Karen Avery is a mother, grandmother and, though battling a rare form of cancer, took on a skydive challenge of a lifetime to raise funds for charity.

Karen, 51, has a rare and unique form of cancer - neuroendocrine tumours. Two years ago, during a routine blood test, it was discovered that Karen had a problem with her Liver Functions. After a scan she was referred to a Gastroenterologist for further investigation.

“My GP seemed pretty certain that I had some evidence of cancer,” she said. “During my first appointment more tests were organised and I was warned that it almost certainly was cancer and the Liver growths, being secondary metastases (growths on a second site), meant that my outlook wasn’t as good as it might have been.”

Karen was referred to a Liver Consultant at Kings College Hospital who specialises in neuroendocrine tumours (NET’s). “The cancer, although affecting the neuroendocrine system and playing havoc with my hormone secretions, was on the whole not a nasty, aggressive cancer that was likely to ‘finish me off’ any time soon, “ she said. “I was told that a large percentage of NET patients can live for 10-20 years although will need treatment for associated problems.”

Despite always feeling tired and being able to “drop off” anywhere and sleep for hours Karen says she is currently able to live a good life. “Part of my positive outlook is due to having good nurses, doctors and consultants.

“NPF (Net Patient Foundation) also plays a large part in my life by being the only UK based organisation supporting all NET cancers.

“NPF has to raise funds to support us and also raises money for research. This help and support is what made me think about the Sponsored Tandem Parachute Jump to say ‘thank you’ to them.”

Karen and a group of friends took the 13,000ft parachute jump challenge at Hinton Airfield. “It was an amazing experience. “Everyone should do it once,” she said. “I can still feel the excitement!

“We raised £3,441 and also raised awareness by people ‘sharing’ the Observer article on social media.”