Size 22 woman loses half her body weight after beating cancer gave her ‘second chance at life’

Emma Parker
Emma had assumed she needed an inhaler because of her weight before she found lump in neck’I thought I’d always be big,’ she said

A 20-year-old woman was inspired to lose nearly half her body weight after winning her fight against cancer.

Emma Parker shed more than 8st after believing she had been given a second chance at life.

In August 2010, aged 18 and already
unhappy with her weight, the customer services adviser from Jacksdale,
Nottinghamshire, was devastated when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s
lymphoma.

 

Emma Parker before she lost weight

Fighting fit: Emma, 20, is now a svelte size 10 (left) after shedding
eight stone (right). She was inspired after beating cancer at 19

But when doctors confirmed she was beating the disease, she decided to join her local Slimming World group and managed to lose 8st 3.5lb and drop seven dress sizes in just seven months.

She has now been named Slimming World’s Miss Slinky 2012.

Miss Parker said: ‘Having Hodgkin’s lymphoma made me realise how important life is and not to take things like your health for granted.

‘I wanted to be as healthy as I could so that if anything ever happened again I would be fitter and stronger, and I wanted to change everything that made me unhappy, which my weight definitely did.’

Miss Parker, who lives with her parents and works for the Co-operative Group, was overweight from the age of eight or nine.

At her heaviest she weighed more than
18st and found even simple tasks like cleaning, walking the dog or
climbing stairs left her out of breath and her joints aching.

Then, 18 months ago, she discovered a lump in her neck and was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

At her heaviest Emma Parker found that climbing stairs left her out of breath

‘I thought I’d always be big’: At her heaviest Emma Parker found that climbing stairs left her out of breath

She said: ‘I’d been struggling with my breathing a lot and even started using an inhaler, then I got a cough that wouldn’t go away.

‘I thought it was all down to my weight so it was a real shock when I found out I had cancer, especially as I was only 18.

‘Now I’ve lost weight I feel so much fitter and healthier and I don’t get out of breath any more – even when I go jogging.’

After undergoing 12 gruelling chemotherapy sessions and a biopsy, she was delighted when doctors decided she did not need further treatment.

With her doctor’s approval she started her weight loss journey by joining her local Slimming World group in Leabrooks, Alfreton, in March last year.

competition and now she has been named the national winner she plans to spend her 2,000 winnings on a new size 10 wardrobe.

Miss Parker, who is hoping to be able to celebrate being given the all-clear for a year next month, added: ‘Losing weight hasn’t just changed the way I look, it’s changed my whole outlook on life.

‘I’m so much happier now and I believe I can achieve anything I want to. I feel that after having cancer, I’ve been given a second chance and I want to make the most of it.’