Labour MP Bill Esterson cheers on Maghull’s inspirational Olympi

Sefton Central labour MP Bill Esterson will be cheering Maghull Olympic torch bearer Justine Shiels on.

A Maghull woman who has fought cancer and become a leading light in the campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of using sunbeds has been personally selected by Seb Coe to be an Olympic torch bearer.


Justine Shiels will run with the historic torch through the streets of Knotty Ash on June 1, and she'll have Labour MP Bill Esterson cheering her on.


The 40-year-old former Maricourt pupil was selected by Seb Coe after being nominated by Cancer Research UK.


Justine, who works at Ashworth, has become a leading ambassador for the charity after battling cancer herself. She has had various forms of skin cancer and even battled back from a tumour in the head.


She puts her getting cancer down to heavy use of sunbeds.


Justine said: "I used sunbeds a lot when I was younger. There were times when I was spending some time every day on sunbeds.


"I just didn't realise the damage I was doing.


"When they found the cancer on my chest, the doctors and nurses said it was something they'd expect to find on a woman in her 80s. i was in my mid-30s at the time. It was a real wake up call.


"When they found the tumour in my head, I had to shave all my hair off. So for a long time i would only go out at night because i didn't want anyone to see me without hair.


"I went through some very difficult times, but now I'm hopefully through it and I have been working to tell as many people as possible about what I went through, what caused it and how they can avoid it.


"I've visited my old school, Maricourt, on behalf of Cancer Research UK to tell the pupils about my experiences and to tell them the dangers of using sunbeds.


"And I was involved in the campaign with Andy Burnham to get young people banned from using sun beds.


"I just want to raise awareness about the dangers of skin cancer."


Last year, Justine was even named Cancer Research UK Ambassador of the Year for her work with the charity and next year she will be starting the Race for Life at Aintree.


Justine said: "Cancer Research UK have really recognised what I am doing with them, but it's simply me wanting to tell as many people as possible what I know.


"I was immensely proud of being cancer Research UK's Ambassador of the Year last year and I'm really proud to be an Olympic torch bearer for Cancer Research UK this year. I'll be going down in the history books.


"But my main goal is to get people to learn the lessons from my mistakes.


"Please God, I've got many years ahead of me, and that means lots of time to raise as much awareness of skin cancer as possible."


Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson said Justine was an inspiration.


Bill said: "Despite everything she has been through, Justine simply wants to raise awareness about cancer and the fantastic work of Cancer Research UK.


"I know from speaking to my colleague and Labour's Shadow Health Minister Andy Burnham that Justine has worked with him to introduce a ban on young people using sunbeds.


"I can think of few other people who deserve to carry the Olympic torch more than Justine and I will do all I can to support her excellent work with Cancer research UK."

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