‘You can give up or give it all you’ve got’: rider with terminal cancer to fulfil dressage to music dream

A rider who was given months to live when she was diagnosed with terminal cancer is taking part in a dressage to music “extravaganza” in aid of a young girl with a brain tumour.

Adele Edwards was treated for ovarian cancer, and given the all-clear, 10 years ago, but this year she was told it had returned and spread.

She underwent major surgery, on top of the hysterectomy carried out as part of her previous treatment, and chemotherapy. But this month, she was told the treatment was no longer working.

“This year’s been pretty horrific,” she told H&H. “I’ve been in and out of hospital, had sepsis three times, and they cut me open from my belly button to my pubic bone.

“I had a membership renewal reminder from British Dressage in May and said to my husband I might as well chuck it away as I didn’t think I’d ride again, or not to that standard. But in September, I renewed it, and I’ve qualified for the winter regionals.

“You’ve got two choices; give up or give it all you’ve got, and that’s what I’m doing.”

Adele said her friends have been “fantastic”, including international dressage rider Nicola Lickley, of Kingswood Equestrian Centre in Staffordshire, who has organised the extravaganza on the evening of 29 November.

“I’ve just got into dressage to music; I’ve always wanted to, and thought I haven’t got much time left,” Adele said. “She rang and said she was telling me over the phone as otherwise we’d both be in tears, but that she was organising the event, and selling tickets for £10 each.

“It sold out in 24 hours, faster than Glastonbury.”

The event will involve 10-minute performances from riders, including Adele, at levels from intro to grand prix.

“At least if I do it, it’ll prove that even muppets can do it!” Adele said.

Proceeds from the event, which also features a raffle with prizes including an Equidance speaker watch, a week’s training livery with rider Anna Brown and a five-star weekend at a caravan park, will go to a charity Adele is to set up.

“When I go, I’ve told people I don’t want flowers, I want donations,” Adele said, explaining that Grace, the young daughter of a friend, had been diagnosed with a brain tumour, so the fund will be for anything needed to support her in future.

“I think it will help my husband too; he’s really struggling,” Adele said. “He and Grace’s mother will set up Grace’s Wish for whatever she needs. That will be my legacy, to help someone else. And although I won’t be around, I hope my legacy and the memory will help him.”

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Adele, who has just started on a new form of chemotherapy she hopes will “keep me going as long as possible”, also wants to raise awareness among women of gynaecological cancers, and of the power of horses.

“When I’m in hospital, I’m poorly Adele, but when I trot up that centre line, for those four minutes, I’m the same as everyone else, and that means so much,” she said. “My horses are my life.”

Anyone interested in supporting the event can contact Adele through her Facebook page.

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