WHEN Nikki Woods’ mum was diagnosed with lung cancer, medics suggested she could have a year to live.

But the cancer had spread to Monica Woods’ brain, and she died just over a month after she was diagnosed with the disease last December.

Her daughter Nikki, 29, moved from Merseyside four years ago to work as a business studies teacher at Didcot Girls’ School.

She said she felt isolated at first when her mother died from cancer, but people at the school rallied round.

And colleagues and pupils at the school in Manor Crescent are now preparing to take part in tomorrow’s Race for Life.

So far, Miss Woods has raised £230 and hopes her final total will exceed £1,000.

She said: “The doctors said mum could live for the maximum of a year, so I expected to get more time with her.

“She was the heart of the family and we used to spend hours on the phone — it’s hard without her.”

“Mum died aged 66, which is relatively young, and at first I felt quite alone down here away from my family, but soon I was inundated with emails and support from other staff members, and some of them told me how they had also been affected by cancer.

“Emma Rudman, one of the art teachers, told me how her mother had died from cancer a few years ago, and it was at that point we decided to take part in Race for Life.

“We have formed a group called DGS Divas and we will wear lots of pink and some of us will wear tutus.

“Some staff members’ daughters are going to join us and and some pupils have arranged to do the race so there could be quite a big group of us, maybe as many as 40 or 50.”

Hannah Harris, 13, is running the race with her mum, Donna Harris, a religious education teacher.

She said: “It is very personal to me as my nana died four years ago from breast cancer, and I am running the race for her.”

Amelia Crook, 11, whose mother Steph Crook is a teaching assistant, added: “I’ve lost two grand- parents to cancer.

“If by taking part I can help in a small way, or make other people aware of this disease, then that helps me deal with the loss.”