Sammy hopes abseil will fire ALK+ awareness into orbit

PUBLISHED: 07:00 17 March 2020 | UPDATED: 09:54 18 March 2020

Sammy PIles who will be abseiling in London to raise awareness of ALK+ lung cancer. Picture: Sammy Piles

Sammy PIles who will be abseiling in London to raise awareness of ALK+ lung cancer. Picture: Sammy Piles


An Exmouth woman diagnosed with a rare and incurable form of lung cancer is gearing up for an 80-metre abseil to raise awareness.

Sammy Pile was diagnosed with ALK+ lung cancer three days after Christmas in 2018 and has been receiving daily chemotherapy since New Year’s Eve the same year.

With her family and friends watching on, Miss Pile will join others who have been diagnosed with the same type of cancer as they abseil off The Orbit – a large structure built at the former Olympic Park in London.

Initially she set a target to raise funds of £250, however, so far, she has surpassed that milestone, generating more than £340 in donations.

Sammy said she wants to break the stigma surrounding cancer sufferers adding: “I don’t look like I have cancer.”

She is nervous about the abseil, having never done anything like this before, but is excited about raising awareness and said it would ‘mean everything’ to complete the challenge.

She said: “I am looking forward to meeting up with other people who have ALK+ because there isn’t many of us.”

The former Kings School pupil was working as a dementia care worker when she was diagnosed with ALK+ lung cancer.

The diagnosis came after presenting with shortness of breath and a swollen lymph node.

She continued her job for six months after the diagnosis but eventually had to leave her job.

When she is not having daily chemotherapy, the 31-year-old, who has always been active, is helping her friend Claire White, from Budleigh, with her dog walking business.

Sammy said: “I am taking chemotherapy every day and I will be for the rest of my life – it’s incurable.

“Even 15 months on, I still cannot get my head around it.

“I have had my bad days, but I have got used to being tired all the time.”

The former Beacon Primary School pupil is hoping to use this abseil to raise awareness of ALK+ lung cancer, which only affects four per cent of those who have this form of cancer.

The abseil will take place on Saturday, April 25.

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