Flash the sloth proves inspiration for cancer mum

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WHEN Laura Ross was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago, the hardest thing was breaking the news to eight-year-old daughter Sally - and Sally’s question: “Are you going to die?”

But inspiration came in the unlikely form of Flash the sloth from Disney film Zootropolis.

Cancer survivor Laura Ross and her 10-year-old daughter Sally

Cancer survivor Laura Ross and her 10-year-old daughter Sally

Laura explainedto Sally that although she had cancer it was slow moving, just like Flash.

“I know what a worrier she can be,” said Laura, 46, a bank worker in the Capital. “But it was also important to be honest and completely open about it. It was awful when she asked me, ‘Mum are you going to die?’ But luckily I was able to tell her that I wasn’t.

“I needed to find a way to tell Sally that the cancer was slow growing which is when I hit on the idea of comparing the tumour to Flash from Zootropolis. It’s a film Sally loved.”

In fact, Laura ended up naming her breast tumour after the cartoon three-toed sloth and wrote a series of poems based on her cancer experience which she titled Odes To Flash.

Disney character Flash proved unlikely inspration for cancer fighter Laura Ross

Disney character Flash proved unlikely inspration for cancer fighter Laura Ross

Laura and Sally, now ten, gearing up to be VIP guests of honour at Cancer Research UK’s Edinburgh “Race For Life” event on at Holyrood Park on 24 June where they will sound an air horn to start the women on their way.

It won’t be the first time they have taken part in the event. In 2014, they took on the 5k course around Arthur’s Seat in honour of one of Laura’s close friends who has cancer. Now, with Laura going through cancer treatment herself, the event has even more meaning.

She said: “When I took part in Race For Life before, little did I know that I would benefit from the research we were raising money for.”

The cancer diagnosis came as a shock to Laura, who lives in Bathgate, after tests at St John’s Hospital, Livingston, in April 2016.

Two years later, following a mastectomy and on-going Tamoxifen treatment, Laura is concentrating on returning to fitness and living life to the full with her daughter Sally.

They have just returned from a trip to Venice and are planning a Disney cruise in the Mediterranean in the summer.

Laura, a former football referee, has just started helping with some coaching at Sally’s football team, Murieston United Girls U11s. The team also recently took part in the Scottish Women’s Football Pink Week in support of Race For Life.

She said: “I was looking for a way to become more active and so when Sally’s team said they were looking for volunteer coaches, it seemed like the perfect opportunity.

“I’ve spent the last two years feeling really tired and I’m determined I want to beat that.

“The outlook for people with cancer is much more positive compared to 40 years ago and that’s down to earlier diagnosis and treatments. For that, I’m very grateful.

“I’m determined to help others by raising money so Cancer Research UK can ensure even more men, women and children survive. I’m urging women in Edinburgh and the Lothians to come together and unite at Race for Life.”