A cancer survivor from Prestwich is urging others to join her next month in an illuminating night-time walk for Cancer Research UK.

Farida Anderson, 61, says a part of her always knew she would face a cancer diagnosis after losing her mum to secondary breast cancer in 1985.

Her biggest fears became reality 10 years ago when she was diagnosed with HER2-positive breast cancer at the beginning of 2013, shortly after her 50th birthday.

Bury Times: Farida Farida Anderson's 50th

Farida, who has an MBE and an honorary doctorate from Salford University for her charity work supporting families in need, said: “I’ve got two sisters and we were told after my mum died that we’d be at a higher risk of getting breast cancer ourselves.

“They had no genetic evidence then as it was nearly 40 years ago, but we were advised to get checked from an earlier age.

“I always had a feeling that if at least one of us got cancer, it would be me.

“Call it a sixth sense, I don’t know, but I had this feeling, especially as I got closer to Mum’s age when she died.”

The mum-of-three was invited for an early mammogram breast screening following the death of her own mum, Miriam, aged 48.

Following one of these tests, doctors noticed an abnormality in her left breast which turned out to be cancer.

She started treatment with a lumpectomy followed by four months of chemotherapy and then radiotherapy.

Bury Times: Miriam, Farida's mumMiriam, Farida's mum (Image: public)

Farida was also treated at home for 18 months with Herceptin targeted therapy, a breast cancer drug that Cancer Research UK helped to develop.

“My experience means I understand the importance of Cancer Research UK’s work all too clearly.

“When I was diagnosed, I remember leaving the appointment and coming home and wondering how I would tell the ones I love.

“I knew they’d think at first that, like mum, this would lead to death.

"But I had what I call the magic drug, Herceptin, that’s the reason I am still here.”

Farida, who has had a women’s centre named after her in Oldham, added: “During chemo I lost my big afro hair, which was devastating.

Bury Times: Farida's grandchildrenFarida's grandchildren (Image: Public)

“But, for me, it’s not just what you lose physically it’s what you lose mentally as well, I lost a lot of confidence and I lost who I was.

“It’s taken me most of the last 10 years to find who I am again.”

Following treatment, Farida, who also runs a Caribbean food company with her 73-year-old husband Basil, set up a support group and gym programme in her local area called FACT, Fitness after Cancer Treatment.

Now the grandma-of-eight will mark the milestone by taking part in the 10K Shine Night Walk, returning to Manchester on Friday, October 13.  

She said: “I’m so grateful to have more precious time with my loved ones. I owe everything to research into better treatments, so I hope that sharing my story will help inspire people to sign up for the Shine Night Walk.

Bury Times: Farida Anderson

“I’d love people from the black community to join me and we can dance our way around Manchester city centre. Just think of the money we can raise.

“There really is no better motivation than knowing you’re helping to save lives.”

Entries for Shine Night Walk are open and participants can choose to raise money for a specific area of research or simply give their backing to Cancer Research UK’s overall work.  

The event starts at the Castlefield Bowl at 7pm, and participants will take to the city’s streets passing some of Manchester’s famous landmarks including Manchester Opera House, Manchester Cathedral and Chinatown Arch. 

A Cancer Research UK spokesperson for the North West, Jemma Humphreys said: “We want to thank Farida and people across Greater Manchester for making our life-saving advances possible.

“One in two of us will get cancer in our lifetime, but all of us can support the research that will beat it.”

“It’s thanks to the generosity of our supporters, that we’ve helped double cancer survival in the UK in the last 50 years. 

“But with around 41,900 people diagnosed with cancer each year in the North West, we’re not stopping now.

“That’s why we hope as many people as possible will pull on their trainers and experience this special opportunity to shine a light for loved ones lost to cancer or to celebrate the lives of those who have survived.  

“By raising crucial funds, every step Shine Night Walk participants take - from the Science & Industry Museum to the Royal Exchange Theatre and beyond - will help bring us closer to a world where everybody can live longer, better lives, free from the fear of this devastating disease.”